By Dave B.
In Stake Land II (2017, currently on Netflix), the safe haven of New Eden is overrun by an alliance of vampires and the Brotherhood, led by an intelligent vampire known as Mother, who can control other vampires with her mind and is worshipped by the Brotherhood as an undead goddess. Martin, the protagonist from the original Stake Land, sets out on a mission to find his mentor, Mister, for help avenging himself upon Mother and the Brotherhood.
I’m not going to bother sugarcoating it: In every way, Stake Land II is inferior to the original. Instead of being a crisp character study, the sequel has a fairly shallow plot, little emotional impact, and makes scant attempt to focus on character development in a consistent way. It feels like a completely different movie than Stake Land and is poorer for it.
That’s not to say that nothing works in the sequel. The action in Stake Land II is decent. Unfortunately, most fans of the original Stake Land won’t be checking out this version exclusively for the action. Learning what happened to Martin in the decade since the first movie (in movie time; six years in real life) is good, and it’s very cool learning more about Mister’s past. But those benefits primarily accrue to those viewers who became emotionally invested in the first film, not to general viewers.
Fortunately, Stake Land II is only 85 minutes long. I say fortunately because it’s relative brevity helps to limit the disappointment that some viewers may feel in how tonally and structurally different this movie is from it’s predecessor. Hardcore fans of the first Stake Land may want to check this one out, just to satisfy their curiosity. Casual viewers can afford to give this ill-conceived sequel a pass, however.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.