Near Dark

Note: This review is part of THE FINAL GIRL FILM CLUB! 

While out on the town, good ol’ boy Caleb Colton (ADRIAN PASDAR) meets a pouty young philly named Mae (I, MADMAN star and eighties fixture ROBIN WRIGHT) having her way with an ice cream cone. After some flirting, stargazing and hint-age that she’s not your average girl, Mae realizes that time has flown and begins to panic. She’s not worried about a whuppin’ from her father like Caleb suspects, but is really concerned that the light of day is going to turn her into a pile of smoking ashes. Although the script by HITCHER scribe ERIC RED is careful not to use the word “vampire” Mae’s nocturnal lifestyle choice is made explicit when rather than peck Caleb’s cheek when she departs, she chomps on his neck. Now infected as well, Caleb’s morning walk of shame across a field becomes life threatening when he himself begins to smolder in the light of the sun. Mae’s maniacal makeshift family arrives just in time to offer some shade and an opportunity for recruitment, but not before Caleb’s father Loy (TIM THOMERSON of DOLLMAN) and kid sis witness the occurrence and perceive it as a kidnapping. The rest of the film follows Caleb’s attempts to fit in with the band of criminally minded undead rogues and his struggle with the dilemma of killing in order to survive. It ultimately comes down to choosing between the two families, the stable one he grew up with who are busy tracking him down or the obviously more exciting, dirty faced, roving pack of transgressive creatures of the night. Director KATHERYNE BIGELOW‘s hip, slick, blood sucking, spur twirling ode to the road is pretty impossible not to enjoy but it is NEAR DARK‘s incredible cast that takes it over the top. Fresh off of ALIENS is LANCE HENRIKSEN, JENETTE GOLSTEIN and never-satiated scene chewer BILL PAXTON as the charismatic killer clan (you may even notice ALIENS on the marquee of the movie theater in town). Not to be forgotten is the youngest member of the tribe, the preternaturally creepy JOSHUA JOHN MILLER from RIVER’S EDGE who plays Homer, an aging, cynical spirit trapped in a young boy’s body and a cool WILLIAM BURROUGHS t-shirt. Born for cult worship, NEAR DARK is probably one of the most original vampire films ever made. Beyond the explosive action and indigo black humor, it never misses a beat showing the internal consequences of vampiric infection not only on the bitten but those that surround them.

  • There’s no forgetting the honkey tonk siege, violent and disturbing but always strangely humorous as well.
  • The daytime shootout at the motel packs a wallop. You may actually find yourself concerned about the safety of these merciless, nearly unkillable maniacs.
  • lil’ Homer ignites


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14 years ago

I’ve always liked this site’s choice of screenshots, but that first one of Lance is the favorite so far.

14 years ago

The gore is top notch. Dark red blood with a tint of black to it. Very disturbing.

14 years ago

And let’s not forget Jenny “Oooh, I need a dirty woman!” Wright as the bloodsucking love interest.

Oh, man, does she bring back memories of the young Vicar, pubescent and frustrated, listening to Pink Floyd and rewinding the tape again and again…

All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall… 🙂

14 years ago

Oh, I didn’t see “Robin Wright” up there. Are you sure it’s not “Jenny”? I think it’s “Jenny…

And “I, Madman” is another great one.