Great Movie, Great DVD!
Daniel V. Reilly | Upstate New York, United States | 09/16/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Near Dark is one of those great movies that it seems no one has seen. I hope this deluxe DVD will change that. Near Dark suffered in it's initial theatrical release due to it's resemblance to The Lost Boys. They share a storyline (Hapless young man falls for a girl who turns him into a Vampire, and he's forced to deal with her crazy running buddies.), and even a release date; Lost Boys blew Near Dark right out of theaters, but Near Dark found an appreciative audience on video, and deservedly so. The cast is uniformly great, especially Lance Henrikson and Bill Paxton as the lead Vamps. The script, by Director Kathryn and Eric Red, is perfect- we learn little tidbits about the history of the Vampires, but we're always kept at arms length from them. We see them as alien and threatening, and they see us a food. Bigelow does a great job, especially considering it was her solo directorial debut. The only gripe I had is the Vampirism "Cure" which seems like a Deus Ex Machina, but that's a small quibble. The Tangerine Dream score also made some scenes seem really cheesy...FAR from their best work. I think an orchestral score would have been much better, but budget constraints.... The 2-DVD set is beautifully packaged, with a die-cut inner package inside the box, and a great looking (and informative!) booklet. The film looks great; As usual, Anchor Bay does great work on their DVD transfers. It also has a commentary track from Director Bigelow, which is kinda dry and technical. Disc 2 has tons of storyboards, a weak deleted scene, a new 47-minute documentary, cast & crew bios (Very extensive!), still & ad galleries, and tons more. Near Dark is one of those films that has flown under the radar for FAR too long, and I can't recommend it highly enough!"
First And Best In A Different Breed Of Vampire Movie
Stephen B. O'Blenis | Nova Scotia, Canada | 10/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I find that usually, vampire tales - whether filmed or written - have to have a large dose of grandeur and mystique to the vampires to make them work (the "Underworld" movies; "Blood: The Last Vampire", various successful incarnations of Dracula, etc.) Even "From Dusk Til Dawn", which was anything but a traditional take on the vampire, had the creatures so monstrously impressive and in some cases so exotically alluring (ex. Salma Hayek), that Dusk sort of fit the bill too, in some weird way.
The ploar opposite of the 'grand' depiction of the vampire is one that was very prevelant in the 90s and still turns up quite often today. The 'lowlife' vampire, with many of the supernatural aspects played down, the charisma and the mystery often missing, very human in appearance at all times, riding around in beat-up old cars and vans, and spending the daylight hours in cheap motels or the basements of bars instead of in eerier, more impressive haunts. Most of the movies in this vein I haven't really cared for (although "The Forsaken" - heavily influenced by the movie I'm now writing about, was a pretty good watch) But one movie in this vein - and I believe it was the first of its kind - really stands out, and that's "Near Dark".
Basically, a farm kid (played by Adrian Pasdar) of about - what, maybe 18 or so? - falls in love with a girl (Jenny Wright) of his own physical age, before learning she's a vampire. Wanting to be free of the vampiric curse, the pair is aided by the boyfriend's father in an attempt to become human again, which leads them into conflict with her 'coven' - a clan of not particularly awe-inspiring, but scary, believable and highly dangerous vampires led by Lance Henrikson in one of his best roles. Well-made, gory, and emotionally-driven (romantic, even) "Near Dark" flies right to the top of its class and carries a feeling of authenticity with it - the diner scene nails the 'injecting the horrific into the everyday' theme to perfection. "Near Dark" is a total success."
"He's Been Bit But He Ain't Been Bled..."
Sheila Chilcote-Collins | Collinswood, Van Wert, OH USA | 07/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Near Dark" is one of those obscure cult movies that was overshadowed by a bigger budget, better looking cast, & special effects - the likes of the blockbuster film "Lost Boys". However, this is one of the few vampire movies, save for Romero's "Martin" not to use the word "vampire" nor have any fangs, mirrors, crosses, garlic and the ordinary lot.Young Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) meets Mae ( a young, Jenny Wright from "St. Elmos Fire" and "Garp"). Passion ensues and Mae "nips" Caleb. Uh oh! As Caleb starts to "turn" in the sunlight of early morning, he is hijacked in a rickety Winnebago by vamp family, Mae, Jesse (Lance Henriksen), Jesse's woman for eternity, Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein), their little pseudo-son, Homer & savage & sadistic vampire, Severen, played perfectly and to the hilt, by Bill Paxton.Caleb tries to fit in but just can't seem to get the "killin' part down".His father, Loy (Tim Thomerson) and little sister, Sarah (Marcie Leeds from "Beaches") are searching for Caleb. Will they find him in time? Watch for yourself and find out!Another cool thing that I noticed is when Caleb staggers through town, before he goes to the bus stop to try and get home, the cinema behind him is showing "Aliens" which also featured Paxton, Henriksen and Goldstein.If you like vampire movies like Lost Boys or Bill Paxton, this is highly recommended!Happy Watching and Unpleasant Dreams!"
A Fantastic Neo-Vampire Western
Jordan | USA | 10/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A young good ol' boy (Pasdar) meets a beautiful down-home girl (Wright) and spends the night wooing her. At the break of dawn, the girl becomes increasingly worried, and the boy asks for a kiss. She obliges with a passionate, tonguey display, and then she bites him on the throat.
With this, the fantastic neo-vampire western Near Dark begins. The cast is an '80s/early '90s sci-fi fan's wet dream (well, almost), featuring Lance Henrikson, Bill Paxton, and Jenette Goldstein, who collectively appeared in Aliens, Alien3, The Terminator, and Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
Almost all your basic vampire elements are here: throat-biting, blood-sucking, fear of daylight, eternal life, etc. However, the bloodsuckers don't have fangs, capes, or pale white skin (which actually doesn't make much sense), and there's never any reference to not having reflections. Instead, the vampires are basically modern southern folk, but obviously with a dark side. It is made quite apparent throughout the film, however, that they have been around for quite some time, as it is mentioned that they started the great Chicago fire and that one of them fought for the South in the Civil War. The vampire clan includes Jessie (Henrikson), the oldest (on the outside) and the wise leader of the group; Diamondback (Goldstein), apparently Jessie's girlfriend (of many years); Severen (Paxton), the leather-clad bada*s of the group; Mae (Wright), the innocent young female of the group; and Homer (Miller), a young boy on the outside but the oldest of them all on the inside.
These characters offer plenty of fun interactions and one-liners, but this is no horror comedy. There is a considerable amount of very bloody violence, including a scene (probably the most memorable one in the film) where the clan visits a bar and subsequently murders all of its patrons. To give you an idea of just what kind of violence we're talking about here, I'll just say that Jessie orders a beer, and when the waitress brings it out, he says "Just the glass." The waitress' throat is then slit, and Jessie drains her blood into the glass like it's on tap during happy hour.
The acting is competent and the cinematography is gorgeous (and very similar to that of The Terminator and Aliens). Director Kathryn Bigelow creates a bleak landscape for the film, filling the sky with either blue/green night, purple/red sunset, teal/orange sunrise, or dessicated daylight.
Near Dark is a notable and very well-made horror film that stands the test of time. But guess what, a superflous remake is in the works! I bet it'll be absolutely fantastic!