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.
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 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.”