Near Dark

Near Dark ★★★½

"You know why you never met a girl like me before? I'll still be down here when the light from that star gets here in a billion years."

A beautiful woman named Mae comes out of a store one night and catches the eye of local ranch-hand Caleb. He introduces himself and they spend the night having fun. Eventually Mae notices the time and goes frantic asking to be driven home. After a goodnight kiss and a slight bite to his neck the apprehensive Caleb is stuck roaming the highways at night with a band of ruthless vampires looking for their next meals. It's time for him to make his first kill and a dive bar in the middle of nowhere is about to find out all about it....

I am a sucker for pretty much anything with Bill Paxton in it, and he kicks ass here as he always tends to do. To a lesser extent I feel the same way about Lance Henriksen and in this case he plays my favorite role in the film as Jessie Hooker, the leader of the group of roaming vampires. They highlight a pretty decent cast of good actors who each nail their parts, especially the vampires. The practical FX are done very well but what really stands out to me is the soundtrack, with an excellent mix of synth and rock and roll. It's 1987 in here and I love it.

The vampires in Near Dark are not exactly conventional. They can feed off each other if need be and they can be cured. They're strong but not to the point of ridiculousness. They're also some of the most "human" vampires I've ever seen on screen and that's pretty cool. Before I saw this film today I always heard about the bar scene and I have to say, not only did it live up to the hype, but it was a major part of this film's excellent pacing, which builds up steadily to thrusting the viewer into absolute blood and chaos.

I swear, one day I am going to find one of those seedy small town bars that look like the one in Near Dark and I'm going to have myself a great time. A bar with a worn pool table highlighting an overall worn aesthetic. A dart board that's been beaten to hell, a gross floor, rickety stools with no backs, Budweiser and Coors on tap, and a top shelf consisting of Jack Daniels and Wild Turkey. One of the drawbacks to living in the dreadful 2021 New York City is most of the bars have no character. At least not the kind I like. The few old time bars that do are usually populated with men in their 50s and 60s talking about when the bar used to rule in the 1980s. I was born way too late.

At it's core Near Dark is a love story with a plot that delivers great pacing but still manages to feel rushed and uneven by the third act. In the course of a week a new comer to the vampire group is basically family with the kind of bond that would take years to cultivate. It would be a bit more acceptable if the new vampire hated his past life, but this guy goes from loving his real family to wanting to abandon them in a span of a few days. Near Dark is still awesome regardless of a few flaws. I'm glad I finally got to see a film that had avoided me for far too long.

Moral of the story -Don't go picking up strange women on the street, unless horror love stories are your thing, then go right ahead and pick'em up!

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