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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Near Dark': A Visceral, Stylish and Emotionally Charged Neo-Western Vampire Film


Movie poster for Near Dark (1987)

Near Dark (1987) is a visceral and compelling neo-Western vampire film that delves into the darker side of humanity while presenting itself as a thrilling road odyssey. Set against the stark backdrop of the American Southwest, the storyline follows Caleb Colton (Adrian Pasdar), a young cowboy who falls for the enigmatic Mae (Jenny Wright), only to discover her true nature as a vampire.


Drawn into Mae's world of blood and shadows after she transforms him into a vampire, Caleb is forced to join her nomadic clan—one that includes the vicious Severen (Bill Paxton) as well as charismatic group leader Jesse (Lance Henriksen). As their ensemble embarks on a journey across the desolate landscape, Caleb struggles with his newfound lust for human blood despite his devotion to Mae. Meanwhile Caleb's father Loy (Tim Thomerson) is in desperate pursuit of the group in order to save his son—his incursion leading to a climax of brutal yet redemptive finality.


Co-written and directed by Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break, The Hurt Locker), Near Dark is a gritty and immersive entry into the collective vampire canon. Bigelow's expert direction blends Western tropes with action and horror elements, creating a unique cinematic escapade. Featuring eye-opening cinematography courtesy of Adam Greenberg and an atmospheric 80's-era score by Tangerine Dream, Near Dark is a genre-bending masterpiece—seamlessly melding the allure of the American West with the mystique of the vampire mythos.

 

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