NEAR DARK (Kathryn Bigelow, 1987)

A communal, i.e., hippie-ish, vampire road movie, Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark is stylish, violent, at times delirious. It gives its young Texan protagonist, who gets a bad bite on the neck from a roaming girl, a hopeless situation. But the scenarists, Eric Red and Bigelow, pull the rabbit of a happy ending out of their dark, dank hat. There are good set-pieces, including a funny barroom scene and an exciting shoot-out, and the film gets better and better as it goes along.
     Alas, a closing freeze frame wobbles what otherwise would have been a perfectly good ending by gratuitously suggesting that “something’s amiss.” Bigelow should have left well enough alone.
     On the other hand, road movies are principally about the transport, and the ride here is a wild one. Another road film that came out the next year, Rain Man, won the best picture Oscar. Near Dark is a lot more entertaining.

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