Near Dark (1987)

DailyView: Day 342, Movie 489

This past weekend, I saw the most recent vampire flick, Morbius, in the theaters and I was suitably unimpressed. During discussion about Morbius online, I had heard a film referenced that had been directed by Oscar Award winner Kathryn Bigelow in her solo directorial debut. It was called Near Dark so when I spotted it as a new film on Shudder today, it was an easy choice for today’s DailyView.

According to IMDB: “A mid-western farm boy reluctantly becomes a member of the undead when a girl he meets turns out to be part of a band of southern vampires who roam the highways in stolen cars. Part of his initiation includes a bloody assault on a hick bar

The lead protagonist in the film was Adrian Pasdar, who played Caleb, the “reluctant farm boy” as IMDB stated. Pasdar was a familiar face from the TV show Heroes. He does a decent job of struggling against the inner demons that were tugging at him to embrace fully the darkness of the vampire life. Pasdar does an admirable job of showing that struggle and maintaining the humanity despite everything around him telling him to join the crowd.

The crowd included a top level, over-the-top performance from Bill Paxton as Severin, who was everything that Caleb was not. Also, Lance Hendriksen is great as the fatherly figure among the vampire horde, Jesse Hooker. Both of these fine actors bring different layers to their characters and both are intimidating to watch. Pasdar does well to stay with these impressive actors.

There are some violent scenes, especially at a biker bar the group stops at. It is shot extremely well and provides some real gory moments while blending in some funny bits as well.

The story is fairly straightforward, which I appreciated in this film. There is a section in the third act involving a blood transfusion which is new to the lore of vampires, but it worked for this type of film.

There are some explosions that I am not sure about. Why the objects burst into flames, and such. However, these are minor gripes of an entertaining vampire film, a film that never once used the word, vampire.

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