Saturday, May 22, 2010

Near Dark (1987)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Starring: Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Jenette Goldstein and Tim Tomerson

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: At Dawn They Hide. At Dusk They Wake. At Night They Search for Blood. Pray for Daylight.

Plot: A young man reluctantly joins a travelling "family" of evil vampires, when the girl he'd tried to seduce is part of that group.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Would I watch it again? Maybe in another 10-20 years

It's been a few years since I first saw this and even though it wasn't that long ago, my memory failed me as I had forgotten how much love story there was and that there's only two really good action scenes. Outside of that, it's a collection of hits and misses but mostly hits.

It's the same old story that's been told for centuries...boy meets girl...boy gets hardon for girl...girl is a vampire and bites boy (but not his wood)...boy is reluctant to kill in order to live despite girl's wacky band of vamp pals...boy gets his veterinarian pop to give him a blood transfusion...boy is now human again...boy finds girl and gives her a blood transfusion...girl is human...girl's pals die a grisly death in the sunlight...boy and girl live happily ever after.

The cast, for the most part, is pretty good. It's great seeing Henriksen, Paxton and Goldstein (Vasquez) in a flick just one year after having been in ALIENS. BUT, Henriksen is hamming it up sportin' a long-ass rat tail, Paxton is WAYYYYY over the top and Goldstein's hair is something to behold. This, of course, is all to the film's advantage.


The two leads, Pasdar and Wright, are fine except for a few moments of cheese. Wright is particularly cute and needs to have my babies. And it's great to see Tim Thomerson in anything. So what's not so great is that everyone is doing their best Southern accent and, in most cases, their best isn't good enough. Woof. Paxton pulls it off best.

We've got two standout scenes; the one at the bar where the gang rolls in and kills everyone in some lovely fashion (well, sort of...) with lots of hootin' and hollerin' and the other is their escape from the law, during daylight, after the one that got away from the bar told the coppers. Both are lots of fun with some great laughs in the bar and some tense moments with the cops.

Hey, Kids! It's Michael Bolton! "Sittin' on the dock of the ARRRRRRRRRGH!"

The score is by Tangerine Dream and it delivers but for a few moments that just don't click. I'm not a huge fan of completely electronic scores because so many of them just don't work; and by don't work I mean they stink on ice. John Carpenter's work is consistently good, for example, and Tangerine Dream's can be hit and miss. TG does mood-setting ambiance really well. Their action cues? Not so much. Half of them in ND sound out of place but the other half kick ass. It's as if there were two different composers on this film.

Oh, I almost forgot the love scene...

Anyway, despite the over the top performances and posturing and some sappy cheeseball high school lovey-dovey shit, NEAR DARK is enjoyable if for no other reason than to see some familiar genre faces having a good time in front of the camera. Just don't expect a thrilling vampire flick because this one takes it's time. At least the vampires don't sparkle...just sayin'.

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