Near Dark (film, 2007)


From SFX 154.

FOUR STARS

1987/18/109mins

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Starring: Lance Henriksen, Bill Pullman, Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright

Despite failing to make it big at the box office, Near Dark has built up a cult following since it was released 19 years ago. But despite a few key scenes, it fails to stack up against other vampire movies.

Caleb is the son of a vet, living in the west of America in some dreary town. When he meets a young girl called May, his life is thrown into turmoil, for May is a vampire…

The story concerns Caleb being dogged by the moral questions that have afflicted many cinematic bloodsuckers. This is not fully explored, as Caleb himself is too equivocal, and the film never picks up speed. The finale, such as it is, is weak.

The film relies instead on its good idea (Western-meets-Vampires), strong cast dynamic and one great iconic vampire moment. This scene, where the vampires trash a seedy bar, underscores Bigelow’s take on these vamps – dirty, desperate drifters driven to cruelty by boredom.

Near Dark is a moody flick to add to your vampire collection for completeness, it is not an edge-of-your seat classic

DVD Extras: Deleted scene, picture Gallery, director’s commentary, Making of Featurette (48 mins).

The extras in this set are better than the film. The making of featurette is a punchy documentary that reunites much of the crew and cast. It is full of great soundbites, and gives some insight into the process of making low budget films in the ’80s. We get a good idea of how Henriksen and Pullman are as people, and how much fun they had making the film. The commentary suffers by comparison. Bigelow revisits much of the same ground, and comes across as being too much in love with her own artifice.

The deleted scene is infra-red footage shot to be intercut with normal film of May and Caleb’s first “date”. On films of this scale, there is evidently little wasted.

Did you know?

The reason the film did so poorly is attributed by Bigelow to the near-simultaneous release of Joel Schumacher’s bigger budget vampire opus The Lost Boys.

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