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
Keith Loh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Kathryn Bigelow's dusty, ambient vampire western is a timeless classic for me, and a lived in genre entry with stellar performances, razor sharp writing (Eric Red power), and confident direction from Bigelow, at her very best when working in the pulpy realm of action, crime and horror. Once again Tangerine Dream contributes wonderfully atmospheric work (they seem to be a running theme with the movies I watch, can you tell I like them?) that compliments the bloody spectacle on display. Aimless young cowboy Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) is transfixed one desolate night by a eerie, gorgeous drifter girl (Jenny Wright) who's passing through his small town. She takes him on a night ride into the outskirts of town, and in a delirious make out session beneath the stars, bites his neck, changing him into one of her kind (the word vampire is never actually mentioned throughout the film). She takes pity on him and convinces her roaming pack of fellow blood sucking no,ads to try and take her in as one of their own. They are led by ruthless, violent patriarch Jesse (Lance Henriksen, a spectral force of enigmatic intimidation), his girl Diamondback (Janette Goldstein) and young Homer (Joshua Miller). The real standout, however, is Bill Paxton as Severin, the loony toon psychopathic whack job of the group. There's a blood freezing, prolonged sequence where the clan terrorizes an interstate roadhouse, and Paxton cuts loose and raises all hell, proving his talent to bring an audience their knees with his good ol boy ferocity. Caleb is very reluctant when forced to feed on innocent humans, and keeps relying on Mae to give him blood from her own veins, refusing to resort to predator instinct like the others. Meanwhile, his farmer father (Tim Thomerson, always welcome) and little sister search for him across the southwest. There's some truly memorable set pieces here, the bar scene I mentioned earlier, a smouldering climax on barren highways, and a sickening sequence where a blood deprived Caleb feverishly tries to purchase a bus ticket home. Bigelow infuses her love for visceral action and vivid characterizations together with the melodic nature of the story, resulting in a broad,backwater fable that's equal parts brutal and beautiful.
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