Stake Land II (2016) [Blu-Ray]

Once called “Stake Lander,” the follow up to the fantastic 2011 apocalyptic vampire film may be just a TV movie, but it’s thankfully a pretty excellent follow up to the original vampire thriller. “Stake Land 2” reunites just about everyone from the original film to extend the mythology of the original film and continue the epic journey of the enigmatic Mister and his young sidekick Martin. Except now, Martin is an experienced apocalyptic hunter who has managed to settle in to a life he loves, even in the midst of the end of the world. Despite Mister venturing out on his own, Martin has established a farm as well as married and had a son.

Six years older, he spends most of his time at his home and fighting off rabid vampires as much as he can. When he goes out hunting one day, he returns home to find that his wife and son have been murdered. Anxious for revenge, he ventures out in to the wasteland to look for the monsters that killed them, including the one eyed leader. He’s older, and wiser but still a bit of a hot head, and decides he can only really achieve the true vengeance he desires by finding Mister to help him. Along the way, Martin experiences some unusual hazards in the apocalypse that put him in constant danger. When he finds Mister finally, things haven’t progressed as he’d hoped, and their roads collide more than either realize.

Nick Damici and Connor Paolo reprise their original roles and never miss a beat, lending new dimensions to a sequel that progresses the narrative quite well. Since six years prior, the world of the vampires has grown significantly and new heroes have risen to fight the dreaded Christian cult that has learned to weaponize the vampires. To make things worse, they also begin working with the vampires to battle a new sanctuary. Directors Dan Berk and Robert Olsen keep up with the grim mood and appealing post-apocalyptic premise that Jim Mickle laid down in his original film. I’d love to see another film or series down the line to continue the battle between humans and rabid vampires. “Stake Land II” is a stellar follow up that compliments the original. The Blu-Ray comes with a twenty three minute “Making Of” featuring cast and crew interviews.