It has been seven years since the original Stake Land came out, which was a damn good take on the tired vampire genre, mixing a post-apocalyptic Mad Max-esque world with ravaging, bloodthirsty vampires. It had an interesting lead character by the name of Mister (Nick Damici) and plenty of action moments sprinkled with a gruelling savagery that made the viewer feel like no one was safe. Jump ahead seven years, and we finally have a sequel to the cult hit, and it surprisingly manages to keep the same tone running through it, a tone of despair and sadness. Action peeps don’t need to fret, though, as there is plenty of moments of violence to keep you invested.
When his home in New Eden is destroyed by a revitalized Brotherhood and its new Vamp leader, Martin finds himself alone in the badlands of America with only the distant memory of his mentor, the legendary vampire hunter Mister, to guide him. Roaming the wilderness of a steadily decaying country, Martin searches for the one man who can help him exact revenge. Once reunited, Mister and Martin prepare to confront the ravenous Brotherhood and its monstrous overlord. But it’ll take more than the two of them to battle this terrifying new threat, and with the future of humanity hanging in the balance, the stakes are higher than ever before. Reuniting one of horror cinema’s most memorable heroic teams, STAKE LAND II is an epic exploration of a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by bloodthirsty vamps and social collapse, where only the strongest survive.
After returning character Martin (Connor Paolo) loses everything he loves to a powerful vampire, he heads out on the road to seek help from the only person he can trust, Mister. Along the way, he runs into some of society’s worst, making the vampires seem tame in comparison.
Stake Land II: The Stakelander plays it smart and brings back the characters we cared the most about and builds on their relationship. It also felt great to get back into that grimy and scary world that Nick Damici and Jim Mickle created in the first Stake Land film. As the movie takes place several years after the first one, we see that the world is no better off and is becoming much worse. It’s to the point where the vampires aren’t the biggest problem, but humans in general. The Brotherhood, the cult from the first one has grown in numbers and their new messiah, the powerful vampire that ruined Martin’s life, leads them on a path of destruction and death. The vampire can control the other more feral vampires, but unfortunately, the movie never explains how she can do that.
There isn’t much to be negative about with Stake Land II as a sequel. It does what all sequels should do, and that is to keep the story moving and don’t step on the toes of the first one, which is never a problem as Nick Damici returns as the writer. Some may say the film feels a bit confined compared to the original, as most of the set pieces aren’t overly grand, but this seemed to allows the makers to allocate their budget to the effects, which look great.
Honestly, I think the biggest praise I can throw at Stake Land II is the fact that I just want more of everything. I want to see more of the Stake Lands. I want to see how the vampire uprising happened and I want to know what happens next when the ending of Stake Land II rolled around. There is plenty of mythology and history to be developed, so please just give us more!
Stake Land II: The Stakelander continues the story of Stake Land, developing known characters and introducing new ones. It felt great to jump back into this hellish land, but be prepared to put through the emotional ringer as happiness is as scarce as food when it comes to trekking back into the Stake Lands.