12 September 2011

Ally's Review: Near Dark

Once in a while we watch a film at Horror Club that really divides us. Some of the most notable examples of that have been Drag me to Hell and Carrie. Strong feelings on both sides of the argument have produced some robust debates, to say the least (a sampling of which can be seen in the comments section!) I brought Near Dark to the table because my first choice didn't arrive in time (thanks, play.com) As Clarky mentioned I had ranked this film in my top 5 vampire films when I joined his weekly movie podcast, so I felt it was only fair that he watched it… and after being late with my review I've had a chance to see the two very different sides. So my review is going to be a bit of a response to those earlier efforts by my horror club cohorts.

Personally, I think Near Dark is a very good film. It is definitely of its time, it has that unmistakable 80s style (which I always love in a movie). The soundtrack is brilliant, but it's by Tangerine Dream so that shouldn't be a surprise. It looks impossibly cool, Kathryn Bigelow may have just been learning her craft but she already knew how to film some iconic shots. It's a violent, slightly trashy, western/vampire movie that zips along at an entertaining pace with everything neatly wrapped up in an hour and a half.

Sounds pretty good, huh?

But Clarky absolutely hated it. Read his review for his long list of reasons. I kind of feel Fin has given a very strong review of why Near Dark is a good film, so I'd be retreading old ground by regurgitating what he's said. But I do feel I need to respond to a few of Clarky's gripes. So here goes…

1) The acting. I don't have any problems with it. I don't actually think any of the performances are that bad. Is Caleb the most charismatic and interesting lead I've seen in a movie… no. But he doesn't have to be. I felt he was good enough. I think Bill Paxton is great as the absolute violent nut job. The other vampires are interesting and do a pretty good job of conveying some character depth considering how little dialogue they are given.

2) Clarky's other problem was the plot holes. I definitely don't want to reopen the debate on these because we'll never agree. But the plot holes aren't actually Clarky's main problem, I don't think. The film just didn't grab his attention or imagination. The thing is, I can kind of see his point of view. The film doesn't have that many likeable characters, so it's difficult to really care about any of them. Although the script does have a destination it's not exactly the finest piece of storytelling I've come across, it also lacks a humour or warmth. Is the film a bona fide classic of horror? Probably not. I think on reflection I did rate it slightly too high when I did the podcast. Does it have flaws? I have to say it does. So I can understand why Clarky doesn't like it, or why it wouldn't grab someones attention.

But despite seeing his point of view… I still think it is really enjoyable movie. It's a cool looking film that is entertaining, has a brilliant soundtrack, it definitely has some thrills and blood spills, and above all else makes you wish you were still living in the 80s. It has an excitement to it that is hard to put your finger on. It's nostalgic and it is absolutely worth checking out. One of the most divisive films we've seen, but it remains one of my favourite vampire movies.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I saw Near Dark, and as you said the things that were off putting for me are the sort of things that you only really notice when your mind is wandering and you are not fully absorbed by the movie.

    I just watched Trollhunter which is ridiculous but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Realism isn't a prerequisite for me, as Fin would have you believe, but I have to enjoy the story and the bits and pieces that make up the story have to be in keeping with the rest of the film.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.