Stake Land | Chicago Reader

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Rated NR · 96 minutes · 2011

An orphaned teenager (Connor Paolo) and a lone hunter (Nick Damici, who cowrote the script) search for safety in a postapocalyptic Rust Belt, defending themselves against vampires and white militia outfits. Given the pulpy setup, this second feature by Jim Mickle (Mulberry Street) is surprisingly understated and even wistful. Mickle combines George Romero's social commentary and Terence Malick's spacey poetics, yet the expressive rendering of rural locations is distinctive and the vision of societal breakdown fully imagined (in one inspired scene, refugees holding a dance at their makeshift camp suggest pilgrims in a John Ford western). In fact Mickle's observation of a devastated working-class America is so sharp that the horror elements, though effectively handled, come to feel like an afterthought. With Kelly McGillis.
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Director: Jim Mickle
Producer: Peter Phok, Brent Kunkle, Adam Folk, Derek Curl, Malik B. Ali, Badie Ali, Hazma Ali and Greg Newman
Cast: Nick Damici, Connor Paolo, Danielle Harris, Kelly McGillis, Sean Nelson, Michael Cerveris, Bonnie Dennison, Chance Kelly, Adam Scarimbolo, Marianne Hagan and Stuart Rudin

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