NEAR DARKMOVIE REVIEW
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A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
This is another flick from the fine 1980's company F/M Entertainment, who brought you movies like THE KINDRED (1986).
NEAR DARK is sharply directed by Kathryn Bigelow (STRANGE DAYS) who also co-wrote the screenplay with sometime collaborator Eric Red (THE HITCHER, BLUE STEEL, Co-wrote and Directed BODY PARTS). This movie is tight, low budget, and over the top. Yet Bigelow shows a steady hand in directing and the writing is as evenly balanced between comedy and horror as you are likely to see.
Adrian Pasdar (THE KILLING BOX aka Grey Night, HOUSE OF FRANKENSTIEN [TV]) plays Caleb Colton, which is as midwest a country name as you are likely to hyar! It's a small town night and Caleb is bored out of his skull. So bored that he is angry at everyone, even his friends.
Then he meets an out of town girl named Mae (Jenny Wright: THE LAWNMOWER MAN).
At first, Caleb is so sexually pushy, and Mae seems so fragile and out of place, that we fear for her, not him. But her other-worldliness opens a facet of Caleb to us. He's not a bad guy, he is just looking for something to do. He responds to her and begins dropping his "stud" routine, hoping to impress her in other ways. When he tries to show her his horse*, the animal rears up and runs away.
"Animals don't like me." Mae says.
Merry Mishaps Ensue.
Now we are welcomed to the wonderful world of vampirism with your flash tempered host Jesse (Lance Henriksen: THE TERMINATOR, ALIENS, ALIEN3, ALIENS vs PREDATOR). A white trash vampire who has spent his long violent life just getting by from night to night. Jenette Goldstein (ALIENS, TERMINATOR 2) plays Jesse's lover Diamondback, vicious and quick. Bill Paxton (THE TERMINATOR, ALIENS, PREDATOR 2, FRAILTY) plays Severin, who chews up the scenery and steals his every scene. Bill's lines and delivery are some of my favorite movie tags of all time. Rounding out the gang is Homer (Joshua John: HALLOWEEN III: Season Of The Witch) who is a very old man trapped inside the never aging vampire body of a young boy. Against his will, Caleb becomes part of this piecemeal family, but they won't officially adopt him until he makes his first kill.
Caleb's human connection comes in the form of his father Loy Colton (Played by the great Tim Thomerson: METALSTORM: The Destruction Of Jared-Syn, The TRANCERS Series, DOLLMAN vs. THE DEMONIC TOYS, BAD CHANNELS, The NEMESIS series, THE HARVEST, Whew! I could go on but suffice it to say that Tim Thomerson has well over 100 movie and TV credits to his name and hasn't stopped working since 1975!) and Caleb's sister Sarah (Marcie Leeds: WHEELS OF TERROR). Loy is a rural veternarian horse doctor, which is a handy profession in this movie.
!!!UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT!!!:
Continued at the UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT/NearDark page.
Now back to the review -
The dusty town of Coolidge, Arizona provides the backdrop to NEAR DARK and the intriguing score by the always great Tangerine Dream (SORCERER) is accented with performances by John Paar, The Cramps, Jools Holland and George Strait. Also pay close attention to the amazing fire effects by Fantasy II. Those were well done (HA! WELL DONE! HA! You'll get the joke when you see the movie. HA!).
This is a ferociously fun and action packed movie with the actors allowed to be inventive with their characters and giving it their all. You can nearly hear the tension ratching up as Caleb is forced to choose between immortality and his family.
I give NEAR DARK 4 Shriek Girls.