Stake Land is the perfect example of a low budget movie that is amazingly superior to similar apocolyptic vampire films with high budgets ("Priest," "Day Breakers," etc). Best compared as "The Road" meets "30 Days of Night," it's a very intense film that grabs you early and does not let you go.
A teenage boy (maybe 15-16 years old) is rescued by a "lone warrior" from a vampire attack that leaves his entire family dead. The lone warrior (sort of a cross between Wesley Snipe's "Blade" with a badass Mickey Rourke attitude) teaches the boy how to fight and kill vampires as they travel up north to find the salvation city of "New Eden." They pick up a handful of fellow travellers along the way and they slowly become a "family" of sorts. These characters (particularly the "lone warrior") are stereotypical yet developed enough to not come across as cheesy or cliche. Not only do the travellers have to worry about vampires, as mankind may be even more dangerous: rapists, killers, psychos, and murderous religious fanatics- who are a combination of all these things.
As you can see, the plot is not overly original. However, what it lacks in originality it makes up for with other strong qualities: the acting is solid and the movie itself is bleak as hell. As the film goes on, the elements of helplessness and doom escalates with a terrifically sad violin music score. And it only gets bleaker as it goes on. No sexy teen vamps that sparkle in sunlight, here, folks. The vampires are refreshingly gross and creepy with rotting skin and animalistic behaviour. The scenes with the religious cult leader are frightening, making you wonder which is worse: vampires or mankind.
Even with its low budget, Stake Land runs circles around similar movies that have much higher budgets. The story is a very solid road movie (think of a very serious "Zombieland") that is bleak, dismal, and very well made. There is plenty of action in the movie, but its not overly gorey. There is more story than action, which is why this movie is elevated above your standard action fare: while there are horror elements in the movie, I'd classify it as a "dark drama" and not a "horror" movie.
PQ is actually very good (which I truley wasn't expecting). Colors don't pop off the screen and the blacks aren't entirely inky- there's some crush / noise in there- but overall a very pleasant looking film.
If you enjoy end of the world movies and/ or vampire movies, you should definitely check this movie out. There are admittedly a few scenes here and there where the low budgetness of the movie shows, but overall this is well worth watching. It also wouldn't hurt to have a lighter-hearted movie to pop in when this one ends: this is pretty bleak stuff, but a road worth travelling down.