Near Dark

Back in 1982 Kathryn Bigelow collaborated with another writer-director (Monty Montgomery) on a small independent feature called The Lovelessa rather inert road movie that was too studied but nevertheless visually striking. In her first solo featurea 1987 hillbilly vampire movie set in very similar locationsshe makes a much more impressive mark. Beautifully shot by Adam Greenberg, this alternately grisly and poetic horror picture begins as a love story, with its hero (Adrian Pasdar) meeting a sexy and spaced-out creature of the night (Jenny Wright) who travels with an extended family of bloodsucking weirdos. Kidnapped by this entourage, he becomes a sort of half vampire himself, hooked on the blood supplied to him by his vampire girlfriend but unwilling to commit carnage, while his father and kid sister try to track him down. One regrets the pounding Muzak of Tangerine Dream, but this is on the whole a striking directorial debut, at once scary and erotic, with lots of sidelong touches in the casting, direction, and script (written by Bigelow and coproducer Eric Red). 95 min. (JR)

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