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Near Dark (1987) Movie Review

Article by FisterRoboto of

In one hot hungry kiss, he gave her everlasting love. She gave him everlasting life

A mid-western farm boy reluctantly becomes a member of the undead when a girl he meets turns out to be part of a band of southern vampires who roam the highways in stolen cars. Part of his initiation includes a bloody assault on a hick bar.

Written by Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Red

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

Caleb Colton (Adrian Pasdar) is your typical southwestern cowboy type. He wears a hat and tries to drink his friends’ beer. During his attempted beer mooching he notices a cute and really out-of-place girl (Jenny Wright) enjoying an ice cream cone. Not one to accept failure, he beats his friends to the punch and politely asks the girl “Can I have a bite?”

Seriously, that’s how this stellar modern-horror-noir-romance-country-fried-vampire film plays out.

Of course the girl is a vampire and he’s about enter a world of hell. Before he knows it, he’s bitten and dragged into a vampire RV with the windows blacked out, and tries to process what’s happened to him. He eventually escapes and tries to return home. His Dad and little sister see him limping across the dry, desert land towards them, as smoke seeps from his newly vampiric skin. Of course the RV vampires don’t let their own escape, and he’s taken back to the RV.

During the course of the movie, we watch Caleb try to adjust to the new lifestyle he’s accidentally chosen for himself. He tries to absorb the sheer horror while his Dad and sister race around Texas to find him. At one point he gives into his newly found power and unleashes on the innocents. It’s clear though that his mercy is undermining his clan’s mission of chaos and that puts him in jeopardy.

Near Dark is a fantastic movie. It’s hard to explain without watching it. It walks the line of excess and subtlety simultaneously, and Bigelow pulled it off with the greatest of ease. For a first time director, she has nailed this rare look into the world of desert horror. The night shots look so natural, while the daytime shots are blurred and foggy with a sun that penetrates like a laser. I loved the visceral reaction these monsters had to sunlight.

There is no whining of mortal coil from these bloodsuckers; they have embraced the evil that flows through their veins and see everyone as a victim. Bill Paxton shines as Severen, a leather jacket wearing nutjob of a vampire. There’s a scene where gang decimates an entire bar and all the patrons. Paxton is amazingly evil. Every word, every action, is designed to inspire fear and showcase his superiority over humans. Merciless might be  too kind a word.

If you’re in the mood for a nice 80’s vampire movie (music by Tangerine Dream), I would suggest you look no further. Near Dark is a classic that has only improved with age. This one goes in the Fister’s Hall of Fame section.

About Fister Roboto (2239 Articles)
Just ring it up with the dong tea...

5 Comments on Near Dark (1987) Movie Review

  1. i LOVE Near Dark. Besides the always awesome Lance, Bill Paxton is AMAZING in the role of the evil vamp. He’s pretty much amazing in everything. I don’t know why I don’t actually own this movie! It took me a little later in life to actually watch it and I was really impressed. I wish vampire movies were still like this!

  2. “I Fought For The South…
    …We Lost.”
    Love LOVE Me Some “NEAR DARK” Good Sir!!!
    Bill Paxton and Those NASTY Spurs!!!
    Priceless, Fo SHO!!!

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