Jim Mickle

review cold in july

Editor’s note: Our review of Cold In July originally ran during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release. Richard Dane (Michael C. Hall) awakens one night to a noise elsewhere in the house. Fearing an intruder, he retrieves a gun from the closet, tells his wife to stay put, and cautiously moves towards the living room. Seconds later, a young burglar’s deceased body falls onto the couch with a bullet through the eye. The town sees Dane as a hero, and the sheriff covers up the fact that the burglar was unarmed, but the quiet family man is left unsettled by the incident. Complicating things further is the recent parole of the dead man’s father, Russel (Sam Shepard). Dane attends the funeral from a distance but is surprised by a face to face encounter with Russel that makes it clear the man is not the forgiving type. When Russel makes the threat that much clearer with a frightening visit to Dane’s home it becomes clear the two men are in for an unavoidable collision. And then the story moves in an entirely new and unexpected direction.

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We Are What We Are

When one of 2010’s most gruesome horror films was getting rebooted, people were intrigued. How could Jorge Michel Grau’s We Are What We Are, an ambitious film about a family of cannibals living in Mexico City, translate to American screens? Well, you’re about to get your answer. Enter Jim Mickle’s We Are What We Are, this time following the totally normal, nothing to see here, Parker family in the Catskills. After the death of their mother comes swiftly in the night during a spooky rainstorm from something called “Kuru Disease” (google it, I believe it rhymes with Hannibalism), Rose (Julia Garner) and Iris (Ambyr Childers) are tasked to carry on the family tradition by their father (Bill Sage). 

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One of 2010’s most wicked independent horror films is getting an American remake, thanks to a pair of up-and-coming filmmakers. Director Jim Mickle and his screenwriter partner Nick Damici are now set to remake Jorge Michel Grau‘s We Are What We Are, the best little Mexican horror flick about a family of cannibals you’ve likely never seen. As our pal Peter S. Hall points out, with Mickle signed on for the remake, that means that a film from 2010’s Fantastic Fest is getting remade by a director who also had a film at that same FF. Synergy! Mickle and Damici’s Stake Land played at FF, as well as at Toronto as part of their Midnight Madness sidebar (where it won the People’s Choice Award). The film followed a set of survivors attempting to scrape by in a post-apocalyptic wasteland ruled by vampires. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the film, Mickle and Damici infused their characters with believable and likable qualities, and then set them against an appropriately gritty and terrifying background. And Grau seems to agree, saying “I feel fortunate to have someone with the vision and talent Jim has to re-interpret my work. It is extraordinary to have a team of filmmakers so respectful of the spirit of a film and take such good care of its essence. I’m so proud to know We Are What We Are will be reworked under that kind of intelligent frame of mind. Very happy that Jim will construct a new […]

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In Stake Land, the country has been ravaged by economic depression, social upheaval, and, of course, vampire attacks. In this exclusive clip, director Jim Mickle talks a bit about the origin of the project, and producer Larry Fesenden shares some real insight into what it’s like filming in areas of the country that have been hit by the economic downturn that they can only fictionalize. But don’t worry. There’s good old fashioned blood spilling for those that want their horror sticky (and without political commentary).

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Stake Land hit select theaters this Friday, and now two character images make their way to your eyeballs. The latest from Mulberry Street director Jim Mickle, the movie tells the story of a country collapsed, a vampire plague hosted by the abandoned towns, and a frantic escape to the safe refuge of Canada. That makes total sense. Check out the hobo chic and vampire aesthetic of the images for yourself:

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A few years ago Jim Mickle directed and co-wrote a film with actor Nick Damici about a zombie outbreak in a Manhattan neighborhood where the disease originated from plague-carrying rats. That film was Mulberry Street and is still one of the better pictures part of the After Dark film series – and by better I mean actually worth your time to watch. It does well to focus primarily on the characters for the better half of the first forty minutes so that when the outbreak spreads and hits the neighborhood full-on we actually give a damn and feel like there’s something to be lost when a character bites the dust.

It was this commitment to character development that had me excited for the second film from Mickle and Damaci about a vampire takeover in a post-apocalyptic landscape of the central United States – titled Stake Land. Damaci (lead actor as he also was in Mulberry Street) is a vampire killer/drifter known by his best friends as Mister and has been traveling North through heavy vampire and Christian occult terrain to a supposed refuge in what we know in the present as Canada – because vampires hate national healthcare. Along the way he passes by a family being mauled by a vampire and is asked to promise the parents of a young man that their surviving son will be looked after and brought to safety. Mister, not being one for sentiment agrees, but with the condition that the boy will carry his own weight and be a helping hand. If he becomes a burden, he’s on his own.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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