Best movies: Mulberry Street (2006), Stake Land (2011)

Can you blame anyone for groaning about the thought of yet another vampire movie? Twilight, True Blood, Let the Right One In—whether bad or great, the recent influx of bloodsucker stories has exhausted the classic monster type first popularized in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. Trust us, though: Jim Mickle’s Stake Land is more than a few neck-bites above the rest, save for Let the Right One In and its excellent U.S. remake, Let Me In.

Despite its admittedly tired, post-apocalyptic setting, Stake Land finds clever ways to re-imagine both the desolate, Mad Max-like landscape and the vampire mythology. Mickle, along with his frequent writing partner (and the film’s star) Nick Damici, presents the undead as ferocious, hideous-looking mutant types, and their attacks are no joke.

The most impressive thing about Stake Land, though, isn’t its creature features, but, rather, how Mickle used his reasonably sized budget and humble resources to give Stake Land the look and feel of an expansive Hollywood production. Just think what he could do if given an actual Hollywood budget.