A memorable vampire entry, Kathryn Bigalow’s “Near Dark” is an effective, atmospheric blend of horror and western that’s impressively directed and edited. Additionally, the ensemble cast works well together and their interplay is believable, which goes a long way towards establishing a rapport among them that heightens the movie’s emotional impact. In particular, Bill Paxton radiates menace and untamed energy as Severen, while Madonna look-alike Jenny Wright is effectively enigmatic and has warm chemistry with co-star Adrian Pasdar, which goes a long way towards selling the movie’s central relationship. The striking synth score by Tangerine Dream is woven into the movie’s structure and manages to stamp the movie with a distinct auditory identity while it’s also efficaciously used by Bigelow to heighten the movie’s atmosphere and tone. The movie’s best scene is undoubtedly the vampiric gang’s bloodthirsty descent on a country western bar, with Bigelow heightening the suspense through a combination of directorial flourishes, use of music, dialogue and camera framing, delivering a menacingly understated segment that fires on all cylinders.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)