If Stakes looks a whole lot like something slapped together by a bunch of barbecue buddies and cubicle co-workers, that’s because it probably is.Presented by the filmmakers responsible for the equally inept Harvesters and displaying some of the most hilarious overacting ever achieved, Stakes tells the tale of a crew of vampire hunters who’ve broken through from their own dimension. Arrived on Earth to rid our world of an escaped bloodsucker plague are a scientist, a high-tech electronics wiz and a goofy priest.
The villains are a rabid ‘pureblood’ vampire queen and her two bodyguards (one big beefy guy and an Amazon with breasts so large they defy explanation) and the trio seems to have a ball chomping through the buffet that is big-city America. In true Masters of the Universe style, the newcomers team with a few equally clueless earthlings and follow the trail of exsanguinated corpses.
Now, if this premise were backed with an adequate budget, some seasoned filmmakers and a crew of actors able to contribute something more than vacant stares, we might actually have something. As it stands, Stakes is the lowest sort of low-rent ‘home video’ moviemaking. I’m sure there are some out there who enjoy this sort of ‘amateur hour’ in precisely the same way ‘enjoys’ a good street brawl - but it’s tough to find much legitimate entertainment value in a production of such subpar quality.
If you’re going to make a movie using only your close friends and a few maxed-out credit cards, you better make damn sure there’s something noteworthy to camouflage the flea-market sensibilities. Stakes offers no such benefit and the result is a movie that may fascinate you in a “Oh dear god is this bad” sort of way, though that’s all you’ll get.I give it two stars thanks to those bizarrely huge breasts, a few cool moments of sloppy gore, and the audacious way the camera keeps rolling no matter how 'off' the line readings are. Ed Wood would be proud.