For the most part, I’m weary of vampires. I really am. I feel like in the last decade they’ve been tapped to the umpteenth degree, and I simply need a break from them. Then along comes this under-appreciated low budget flick, Stake Land, and for 100 minutes or so, I whole-heartedly welcome vampires back into my fold. Funny thing is that my liking of this film really has nothing to do with the actual vampires at all, but rather the simple and graceful direction. The fact that it just happens to have vampires in it is almost an afterthought for me. Stake Land doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any means. You will definitely get tones of The Walking Dead, Zombieland (sans the humor), and a lot of dystopian future movies like The Road or even Mad Max. But it balances everything with such an even, well crafted, and practically elegant hand, that it really feels a step above the normal vampire film. Stake Land is set in a dystopian future where a type of virus has turned most of the world into vampires, and only a few remnant towns still exist, dotted amongst the madness. The rumor of a place called New Eden is the destination of choice, but whether it actually exists or not is in question. Throw in the mix an anarchist group of religious zealots called The Brotherhood, who take over much of the land, and really only want to murder and rape at will, and you’ve got a lot of trouble brewing for anyone roaming Stake Land. We follow a badass vampire hunter called Mister, and his newly orphaned teenage protégé as they travel the wild, picking up a few other survivors along the way. A few specific things of note for me. First, the music is gorgeous. It’s a perfect example of how a perfectly composed score can elevate any film. Second, there is a 10 minute or so scene in the dead center of this film that may be one of the most insane and coolest sequences I’ve ever seen in a film of this type. You’ll know it when you see it. It’s unforgettable and just amazing. The acting is wonderful. The sets and visuals are fantastic. And this movie was made for under $700,000. It’s really quite an achievement. For those looking for a slower paced, more deliberate, thought provoking, and gracefully crafted vampire film, I really think Stake Land is a top notch option.