47 FILMS: 15. STAKE LAND

In our continuing series of ‘47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams‘, we look at Jim Mickle’s magnificent Stake Land.

In a world plagued by too many post-apocalyptic zombie movies, Jim Mickle’s Stake Land is a strikingly original, beautifully filmed genre piece. With Terrence Malick visuals and a keen satirical eye on contemporary America, the film tells the story of a young man Martin (Connor Paolo) who is rescued from the massacre of his family by the mysterious Mister (co-screenwriter Nick Damici), a man determined to fight back against the Vampire hordes and make his way to Canada to find refuge and peace, killing vamps and mad dog Christian fundamentalists on the way.
Mister trains Martin to be a fighter and stake the zombie/vamp hybrids, but as America has divided up into different mad groups – Aryan brotherhoods, Militia and Christian End of Days types – the real danger comes from those infected by ideology as much as by the rage virus. Along the way they meet up with an ex-soldier, a nun (a brilliant Kelly McGillis) and a pregnant folk singer as well as a band of psychopathic Christians who see in the world’s end eschatological justification for their own feral world view.
Without giving up on some basic genre jollies, a chase through a cornfield and some smartly directed action sequences, the film also has wit to never take itself too seriously, even as it demands a little bit more from its shop worn premise.

For more of our 47 Films to See Before You’re Murdered in Your Dreams, Click HERE.

CANNES DIARY: DAY 5

CANNES – Talking to Guy Pearce today – he’s here for the Neighbors movie The Rover. He tells me that he loves Cannes, except for the fact he shares a bathroom with Don Johnson and Johnson leaves the towels on the floor and doesn’t hang them on the rail.

Johnson is here for Jim Mickle’s Cold in July, a brilliant Southern Noir. Johnson told me that when he was researching the role no one asked him to hang towels up, that was the maid’s job. He went on to complain that Pearce does this thing of gargling for five minutes every morning and then doing voice exercises which he can hear ‘as if he was doing it in my f*cking ear’. He also mentioned that The Rover had absolutely nothing to do with Neighbors, which was an Australian soap opera which he did right at the beginning of his career and which he has left behind. It turns out that Johnson has his own bathroom and is only using Mike’s  Guy’s to irritate him.

For more Cannes CLICK HERE.