Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Red
Cast: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein
Seen on: 21.4.2016 (totally missed to review this one, so a late addition)
Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) lives a rather quite life with his family on their farm. But then he meets Mae (Jenny Wright). She’s beautiful and mysterious and he falls for her head over heels. Happy with any way that means spending time with her, he offers her a ride home. As dawn is fast approaching on their ride, he asks her for a kiss – but Mae bites him instead, turning him into a vampire. Before the sun rises, Caleb finds himself with Mae and her group, facing a completely new life that is much more than he bargained for.
I had never seen Near Dark, so when the Filmmuseum showed it, I jumped at the chance. But this might be another instance where you have to have seen the film in younger, more formative years to really fall in love with it. I enjoyed it, but not much more.
I have to admit that I was intrigued by the vampire lore in this film, or rather the variation on established themes of vampire lore that we get to see here. Above all the comparatively easy cure that they find for vampirism that seems to have no negative side effects at all. Think of the possibilities! You could go vampire every once in a while, halting any aging and prolonging your life whenever it seems appropriate – and then you can go back to beign human when you’re fed up with the downsides of being a vampire.
But the film isn’t really interested in exploring the rules it establishes. It’s busy with telling a rather simple love story that lacked conviction for me. I just didn’t see anything great between Caleb and Mae and they completely lacked chemistry for me. Since caring for them should be at the heart of the film, that was a little disappointing.
Since they remained so colorless, though, it becomes much easier for the rest of the vampires to shine. Above all, there was Bill Paxton’s Severen. With his exalted, loud and colorful performance, he draws every gaze whenever he’s on screen. Sometimes it got a bit much for me, but your mileage may vary.
Overall the film was just a little too uneven for me. Uneven in pacing and characterization and tone. I just couldn’t really get into it and there never was any tension to speak of. There was enough there to keep me engaged and entertained, but far from enough to make me love it.