Caleb:How old are you?
Jesse: Let’s put it this way: I fought for the South.
Jesse: We lost.
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Written by Kathryn Bigelow and Eric Red
Adrian Pasdar as Caleb Colton
Jenny Wright as Mae
Lance Henriksen as Jesse Hooker
Bill Paxton as Severen
Jenette Goldstein as Diamondback
Tim Thomerson as Loy Colton
Joshua Miller as Homer
Long before 30 Days of Night, long before From Dusk til Dawn there was Near Dark. This tale of a gang of nomadic and marauding vampires set the bar pretty damned high for the vampire genre in the years to come. Kathryn Bigelow has directed a white-hot knuckle gripper of a horror suspense film that runs on all cylinders like a 69 Chevy with a 396. The performances, direction and writing are absolutely top-notch. The best performances in the film come from Bill Paxton and Adrian Pasdar. Paxton portrays Severen, a vampire who has sunk so far into depravity that killing isn’t second nature to him but merely a natural instinct. Watch as he almost single-handedly lays waste to the patrons of a shit-poke bar that just happens to be on their radar and therefore in their way. His acting has just the right amount of over the top glee. Pasdar is the young farm boy who is turned by Mae, played by Jenny Wright, who still looks at the world as if it were lit by the sun even though she has left the sun behind. He is the exact opposite of Severen in that it never occurs to him that he needs to kill to survive. This is a whole new world to him and excuse him if he don’t know just what the hell is going on.
The one thing about the film that sets it apart is that it never uses the word vampire. Instead it blends the old standards (like sunlight burning the flesh of a vampire), along with dialogue that gives us hints as to just how old these murderers are (“Hey Jesse, remember that fire we started in Chicago?” or “Jesse, there’s something I been meanin’ to ask ya.” “Yeah,what might that be?” “How old are ya?” “Let’s just say I fought for the South” “The South?” “We lost.’” Brilliant.
Kathryn Bigelow won the best director Oscar in 2010 for The Hurt Locker. Before that, she honed her craft on films such as Near Dark, Point Break and Strange Days that helped her to sharpen her talents and become the first woman to ever win the Best Director Oscar. Near Dark is proof almost 20 years before that she is deserving of the honor. She has taken a genre that before that had grown stale and over-done and has given it a much-needed jump-start. If I were Robert Rodriguez or David Slade, I’d be kissing her ass and telling her thank you.
- The Twilighting of Near Dark (thefword.org.uk)
- Near Dark – The Hurt Coffin (all-things-andy-gavin.com)
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- ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ is the Working Title of Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama Bin Laden Movie (slashfilm.com)
- Kathryn Bigelow’s Hunt for Bin Laden Drama Gets Working Title ZERO DARK THIRTY; Production in India Draws Protests (collider.com)
- Kathryn Bigelow Wins Big and Fields Questions On Directing, History and Ex James Cameron in Press Room (popsugar.com)
- Tribeca Film: The Reelist: Frightful Noise (huffingtonpost.com)
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