Stake Land

stake_landI guess we all have films we fully intend to watch on release but then, for one reason or another, we end up missing. I don’t know about you, but I have a ‘to watch’ pile that’s as big as my ‘to read’ pile. Today’s movie recommendation, Jim Mickle’s 2010 STAKE LAND, is one such film which I’d been planning to watch for years but only just got around to. STAKE LAND popped back up on my radar recently when it was announced that a sequel – THE STAKELANDER – has been filmed in secret. In these days of set reports and teaser images and trailers for trailers, it’s so refreshing to hear about a movie project for the first time once it’s in the can.

You’ve probably already seen STAKE LAND by now. In any event, here’s a synopsis and trailer. Click the link below for my brief thoughts.

America is a lost nation. When an epidemic of vampirism strikes and his family is slaughtered, young Martin (Connor Paolo) is taken under the wing of a grizzled, wayward hunter (Nick Damici) whose new prey are the undead. Simply known as Mister, the vampire stalker takes Martin on a journey through the locked-down towns of America’s heartland, searching for a better place to call home while taking down any bloodsuckers that cross their path.

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The Rover

My first film recommendation of 2016 and wow, what a belter I have for you today. David Michôd‘s THE ROVER is a bleak and surprising dystopian tale which features a superb performance from the ever-reliable Guy Pearce. Watch the trailer and click the link below for my thoughts.

10 years after a global economic collapse, a hardened loner pursues the men who stole his only possession, his car. Along the way, he captures one of the thieves’ brother, and the duo form an uneasy bond during the dangerous journey.

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THE DAY

I’m on a mission to work my way through as many post-apocalyptic movies as I can and report back here with my thoughts (check out the tag Post-Apocalyptic Movie Club). This week a recommendation from reader Paige Topinka – 2011 indie horror, THE DAY.

TheDay.jpgHere’s a brief synopsis snatched from IMBDA group of five people working to stay alive in a post-apocalyptic future discover what they think is a safe, abandoned farmhouse, but they soon find themselves fighting to stay alive as a gang of bloodthirsty predators attack. And I’ll keep my thoughts equally brief, because that’s pretty much all there is to it.

I’m on the fence with this one… whilst I thought it looked the part (definite muted shades of the movie adaptation of The Road) and it established an interesting (and interestingly vague) post-apocalyptic world, the performances were pretty standard and the story felt frustratingly linear, very much by-the-numbers. I read elsewhere that the film is part of a planned trilogy, and I’m interested enough by this first part to want to know how the story pans out.

All in all, though, I found THE DAY to be entertaining, but nothing special. It’s filmed with a very grey, washed out and grimy colour palette with occasional flashes of colour, and that really summed the movie up for me: relatively formulaic, but with very definite hints that there’s much more to be seen in this rain-soaked, dying world.

The film’s available now on DVD and Blu-ray. UK folks can stream THE DAY on Lovefilm and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Any PA films you’d like to recommend? Please let me know. And thanks again to Paige for the tip!

Tooth and Nail by Craig DiLouie

As a writer, I’m regularly approached by people who want to tell me about the incredible new book they’ve just written. I try to be accommodating and look at as many manuscripts as I can, and I’m always happy to share my experiences of publishing with anyone who asks. You’ll probably appreciate though, it takes time to read a book properly and provide the author with constructive, useful feedback, and that’s part of the reason a). why I’ve got a backlog of such books right now (apologies to all who’ve sent books to me in 2010 – I will get back to you), and b). why I’ve had to start saying no to new approaches. Please don’t contact me for blurbs etc. until I post something to the contrary here: it’s not that I don’t want to help, I just can’t right now…

Another problem with agreeing to read books like this, is that you never know what you’re going to get. I’ve had long and involved conversations with writers about their fantastic sounding ideas, only to eventually receive an incoherent, uncorrected mess of a manuscript. However, that’s the exception, and I’ve read some truly great books from people who’ve started out as either readers, friends or both.

Today – very belatedly (sincere apologies, Craig) – I want to tell you about one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. If you’re a lover of zombie fiction in any way, shape or form, I urge you to pick up Tooth and Nail by Craig DiLouie.

On the face of it, Tooth and Nail looks like any one of a hundred other zombie stories. The plot sounds standard, almost clichéd: a mutated form of the rabies virus is causing chaos around the world, and a battle-hardened Lieutenant must lead his men (recently back from Iraq) across New York to protect a research facility which may just hold the cure…

Right; forget all your preconceptions. Tooth and Nail is about all of that, but it’s so much more too.

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