A sequel to Stake Land which came in 2010, it has been a gap of a few years but it seems to get right back to the feel and look of that film quickly and with ease. There had been quite a bit of positive respect for the first movie at the time as it seemed to offer something with a slightly different take of the vampire/dystopian future story which had been lacking in cinemas at that time.
I did like that first film even if I did maybe feel slightly let down or confused at what had felt like very high praise, possibly too high. It was a good film though which did try to do something different enough even if it did not change the vampire/horror genre totally.
The thing that did stand out for me with the original was how the blood of the vampires in that first film seemed to appear almost like tar-very black and thick. It may have just been the setting on my television…
This new sequel has come to Netflix suddenly I was curious to see if the next chapter of the story would be worth viewing. It have a different director this time, but it has continuity as it retains the same writer whom is also the main older lead character known only as ‘Mister’.
The first film followed a young man who joins with the mysterious ‘Mister’ in a potential near future ruined world plagued by rabid vampires as the pair of them travel across to a safer place. This sequel picks up the story a while later when the pair have been separated. The young man called Martin travels alone until finally reuniting with Mister. They also save a young feral girl and move together to take down the Brotherhood.
This sequel has come when audiences have been watching shows such as the hugely popular The Walking Dead and movies like The Hunger Games. People are very familiar with bleak future dystopian lands on screen. While there are unavoidable similarities with The Walking Dead and many modern zombie movies this sequel does manage to mostly move forward with a storyline which just about keeps us interested. the Brotherhood were introduced in the first film, which stood as a symbol for what religions can often do when not held back by state or led by the most immoral and crazed leaders. As with The Walking Dead where the zombies regularly are a background threat to the narrative, vampires here are around and get in the way but the story about much more than simply bloodsucking terror.
The concept of the ruined dystopian world run wild and lawless with all kinds of barbaric human violence besides vampires stalking around is no fresh thing here, and so the writer of Stake Land 2 continues to explore the relationship between young Martin and Mister and what is now happening with the deadly Brotherhood religion/cult. It is not taken too far, and does remind of a few 80’s fantasy movies such as Willow as well as other zombie survival flicks from Romero and others and also I am Legend.
It is really the cinematography of the film and the acting which kept me in my seat until the end. Like the first film it does look visually very convincing-vast oppressive skies, stark dried out bare landscapes around the characters. The main actors also seemed to have really built a strong connection and work well together, all very suited to their individual roles.
While it may not seem very original among the increasing numbers of dystopian post-apocalyptic movies and years of The Walking Dead on television, it is still a good enough sequel to a special first movie. There is not really too much in the way of real serious vampire imagery or gore. This is a film about a young man maturing into a grown adult and stepping right into the vampire hunter role of his adopted father figure Mister.
A contemplative but still adventurous dystopian horror sequel journey.
James E. Parsons is author of SF books Orbital Kin and Minerva Century both available now in amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and all good bookshops in paperback, ebook and hardback. His first horror novel is published later in 2017.