When I first heard of this, I wasn't too excited about yet another vampire movie. But it turned out that wasn't a problem, as these vampires are basically fast-moving zombies with big pointy teeth. Much more my cup of tea.
It's a kind of road movie, set in a post-apocalypse type world infested with blood thirsty creatures in Buffy/Angel-style demon make-up. A mysterious man ('Mister') and a boy ('Martin' - possibly a nod to the Romero vampire film?) are on their way to a safe place In The North called New Eden. The film follows their journey, and the assortment of characters they meet along the way. This includes a nun with plucked eyebrows who used to be Kelly McGillis from Top Gun, a pregnant girl, a tough but pretty girl, and a cult leader with tattoos. Disappointingly, these soon fall into well-worn traditional roles (the 'conscience', the vulnerable one, the potential love interest, the baddie who pops up everywhere) and apart from Martin, none of the characters are particularly fleshed out. So if and when they do meet a sticky end, it's hard to feel much for them.
Curiously, Martin is referred to as a 'boy' throughout, though he looks at least 20 and has 5 o'clock shadow. At the start of the film he is rescued by Mister when zombies - sorry, vampires - attack and kill his family in a dramatic and vicious pre-credits sequence. Mister takes him under his wing and trains him in the art of killing vampires. The first section of the film reminded me a lot of The Karate Kid.
There are several 'why would they do that?' moments, and the script could have done with some tightening up. And there is a very unsatisfying ending, when the film seems to suddenly stop. Just like that.
However, having said all that, it is still an entertaining and enjoyable movie to watch. I actually liked the slowish pace, which is enhanced by the haunting music and occasional voice-over narration. It often feels more like a drama than a horror film. The production values are surprisingly high, and I really liked some of the atmospheric locations used. I found the use of religious imagery interesting, along with having nutcase religious cults as the real villains of the piece. The film takes itself very seriously, and the general tone is quite grim. But I was still amused by the brief appearance of a zombified Santa, and the silliness of the baddies attacking a village by dropping vampires on it.
Overall, if you can overlook its minor flaws and try not to analyse it too much, it's a fun movie that entertains and looks pretty good. 3/5