Stake Land

Stake Land
Original title Stake Land
Release date 2010
Directed by Jim Mickle
Genre Zombies
Written by Nick Damici, Jim Mickle
Duration ( minutes ) 98
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Stake Land is a 2010 vampire film in the zombie apocalypse vein directed by Jim Mickle and starring Nick Damici, who cowrote the script with Mickle. It also stars Connor Paolo, Danielle Harris and Kelly McGillis. The plot revolves around an orphaned young man being taken under the wing of a vampire hunter known as “Mister”, and the battle for survival in their quest for a safe haven.


When a pandemic of vampirism strikes, humans find themselves on the run from vicious, feral beasts. Large cities are left as tombs and survivors cling together in rural pockets, fearing nightfall. When his family is slaughtered, young Martin (Paolo) is taken under the wing of a grizzled, wayward vampire hunter, called Mister (Damici).Mister takes Martin on a journey through the locked-down towns of America’s heartland, searching for a better place in the famed ‘New Eden’, up north, while taking down any bloodsuckers that cross their path. Along the way, they are joined by fellow travellers, the first being a nun known only as Sister (McGillis), whom they rescue from two young rapists whom Mister kills without hesitation. They continue to move north, avoiding major thoroughfares that have been seized by The Brotherhood, a fundamentalist militia headed by such fanatics as Jebedia Loven (Michael Cerveris), who interprets the plague as the Lord’s work.

The group is then captured by The Brotherhood and it is revealed that one of the rapists killed by Mister was Loven’s son, and as punishment, Mister is left at the mercy of a group of vampires. Martin promptly escapes the Brotherhood camp and discovers that Mister has survived the vampire attack. They drive off together, making a stop at a survivors roadhouse where they pick up another traveler, the pregnant Belle (Harris), who hopes to make it to New Eden to have her child. Later, they also pick up Willie (Sean Nelson), a Marine, who is found hiding in a workmen’s toilet after his run-in with The Brotherhood. The four decide to go after Jebedia, whom they successfully ambush then tie to a tree and leave for the vampires. The group is soon reunited with Sister in a survivor’s settlement but, the same night, celebrations are interrupted when The Brotherhood, using helicopters, drops vampires into town.

The next day, the group decides to move on towards the north again. Midway, their car breaks down and they have to continue their journey on foot. They manage to avoid dangerous areas for some time but, while sleeping at the abandoned site of a car jam, they are attacked by stronger vampires known as ‘berserkers’. They run into the fields, and Sister diverts the chase away from the rest then shoots herself in the head when overrun.After several days of walking through the wilderness, they take shelter in a broken-down bus and notice in the morning that Willie is missing. The three search for him, first finding his blanket then finding Willie killed and strung up in a tree. Mister notes he has never encountered a thinking vampire before and warns the others to stay alert. Despite their best efforts, Belle is taken from their campsite during the night and Mister and Martin find her in an abandoned silo the following day, wrapped in barbed wire and bitten. Jebedia Loven, now a thinking vampire thanks to having given himself willingly to the vampires that attacked him, reveals himself and attacks Martin and then Mister. Martin manages to impale Jebedia, and an injured Mister is successful in finishing him off. Martin mercy kills the dying Belle, saving her from becoming a vampire.

The duo then heads north again, acquiring a pickup truck, and they meet Peggy, who lives alone in an abandoned restaurant and who picks off approaching vampires using a crossbow. Martin and Peggy have an instant connection, and Martin easily attacks and kills a vamp outside the restaurant that night, with Mister covertly looking on. The next day, Mister is gone and Martin finds his mentor’s skull pendant hanging from the truck’s mirror. He and Peggy head off by themselves, finally arriving at the border to Canada, or the New Eden for which they were searching.


The film received fairly positive reviews with Rotten Tomatoes giving the film a 75% “fresh” rating from 48 reviews; the consensus states: “Though the genre is well worn at this point, director Jim Mickle focuses on strong characterization and eerie atmosphere to craft an effective apocalyptic vampire chiller that also manages to pack a mean punch.”
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 stars out of 4, noting that “Director Jim Mickle, who co-wrote the film with his star, Nick Damici, has crafted a good looking, well-played and atmospheric apocalyptic vision.”


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General info

Original titleStake Land
Release date2010
Directed byJim Mickle
Written byNick Damici, Jim Mickle
Duration ( minutes )98
CastConnor Paolo, Nick Damici, Kelly McGillis


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Stake Land

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