NEAR DARK (1988) - Mania.com



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NEAR DARK (1988)

By Randall D. Larson     June 11, 2000

A thoroughly refreshing and original take on one of horror's oldest myths, Kathryn Bigelow's NEAR DARK is a superior effort in cinematic vampire lore, and a superior horror film by any measure. The simple story: farm boy Caleb meets girl, Mae. Caleb falls for Mae. Mae a vampire) bites Caleb. Caleb now must become member of Mae's nomadic vampire family, roaming the countryside in stolen autos, hiding out behind black-taped windows in daytime and doing their murderous feeding at night. But there's so much more to Bigelow's film than this simple story. At its heart is a compelling study of conflicting loyalties--Caleb's for Mae, Caleb's for his former family, both Caleb and Mae's for the vampire gang, the gang for their reluctant new member, who both seeks acceptance and yet finds the whole barbaric trade extremely distasteful. Bigelow's examination of the band as a family unit, striving to live within the boundaries of their nature in a world that is not really their own, is fascinating. The glimpses we have of their personalities and common bonds gives us a kind of respect for them, even though, like Caleb, we must opt for their destruction in the end, and, like Mae, we must return to the proper world of daylight after our sordid tryst with the night.

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