Near Dark

Near Dark ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Near Dark is one of those sacrosanct films for some people and, now, I can see why. I came into Near Dark when it was rented from a local Movie Magic (rip) and I was far too young to watch. For some reason my impressions were much higher back then opposed to now as I came out my fresh viewing with an opinion of, "OK, yeah, sure."

Plot synopsis: Caleb is a young man who, when out on the town, stumbles across the beautiful Mae who, inadvertently, drags him into the web of her adoptive, psychotic family of nomad vampires. Caleb is turned into a vampire and has to decide if he'll give into the urges to kill and drink blood or be cut down by his newfound companions.

The strength of the film can be found in its heavyweight cast: Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, and Tim Thomerson (criminally underutilized) on top of cameos from several actors you'll recognize from 80s and 90s horror and action films. The cinematography is often amazing as well, no surprise this comes from Adam Greenberg (Terminator 2, Ghost) and Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break, Strange Days, Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty).

The entirety of the family are juxtapositions to the old school Bela Lugosi and new school Twilight vampires. These are not sexy beasts stalking for virgins and young flesh, looking to corrupt: the family are dirty, homeless nomads looking for anyone they can bleed before they move on to the next town, the next motel, or the next back alley. There is no glamour in the life of the family and for the "youngest", Homer, its a semi-tortured existence of being a decades old vampire in the body of a 10 year old.

Near Dark (ND) is by no means a "bad movie". I do think it is poorly edited, and cut, in certain spots that give it a rushed feeling. I am all for films that have a tight 95-100 minute runtime...don't overstay your welcome, I generally say. However, ND's runtime doesn't seem to come from "tight" editing so much as it seems to come from frantic, "let's get this over, quick" editing. So many scenes could have gone longer to actually allow me to understand a character. The highlights of the film are without a doubt the bloodbath at the bar and the shootout at the scummy motel. The relationship between Caleb's father and sister is never explored in any real depth because there is just no time. They come off as characters whose only existence is there for the climax and to give more tension to Caleb's choice of families.

Definitely watch Near Dark. I like the film but I almost wonder if a reboot under an indie director wouldn't be a good idea. Then again, the themes in Near Dark aren't unique these days in horror or vampire films.