July 15, 2012

Filthy Review - Midnight Son

Midnight Son (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Over the last few months I have been trying to catch up on the movies that were screened at the 2011 Toronto After Dark Film Festival, and there have been some real beauties so far. I still need to catch a few, such as Redline, The Corridor and War of the Dead, but of the ones I have seen, a couple have jumped right to the top of my favorites of the year. It would appear that someone up there knows what they are doing when it comes to picking the movies. The latest to see a DVD (but no Blu) release is the vampire flick, Midnight Son.

This is a different kind of vampire tale though, there aren’t fangs and garlic and what-have-you, although there is one amusing Crucifix scene which follows a short snippet of the classic 1985 flick Fright Night. Instead, Midnight Son is a movie that was more in line with George A Romero’s Martin (1976) or The Butcher Brothers 2006 movie, The Hamiltons, well that is the feel I got from watching it.

The film is set in LA, more of which later, and focuses on a security guard named Jacob. He’s a quiet unassuming fellow and is happy to work the night shift, because he can’t be outside in the sunlight. Although he tries to go about his life as normally as possible, he starts to get cravings and this really comes to a head when he meets Mary. The urges within him trigger his bloodlust, and no he doesn’t go out on a kill-crazy rampage.

Instead, he does a little research about how to obtain this precious life force, and in turn ends up at a hospital. It is here that he encounters Marcus, a hospital worker, who ends up helping Jacob.

Midnight Son really is a quiet and subtle movie, to call it out and out horror really would be a stretch. Of course there are strong horror themes running throughout the movie; there is blood and blood drinking, and there are one or two scenes of short, sharp violence. Midnight Son really examines the relationships in Jacob’s life though, with Mary and Marcus, and later on to a degree with the police.

The film itself belongs to Jacob, and Zak Kilberg’s portrayal is absolutely riveting to watch. This coupled with Scott Leberecht’s controlled and understated direction; bring this slow-burning movie to life with a definite grace and poise. This is certainly one of the most engrossing vampire flicks I have seen in a few years, and if anything ran shorter than I would have liked.

One thing that did bother me, and it isn’t just directed at Midnight Sun, and that is why vampires, or those that don’t like sunlight, would ever live in a city such as LA. It’s a town that is renowned for its perpetual sunlight. I often think the same when watching the wonderful Near Dark; why would they live in Texas? Get on a bus and move your ass north. That’s not to take anything away from the film itself though, as it really is a wonderful movie. It’s just me looking too deeply into the big picture.

Midnight Son is a good looking movie, the score fits perfectly and Leberecht does a great job of making LA look even lonelier than it already no doubt is. This is a movie that I recommend without a shadow of a doubt. It’s not going to appeal to the 1000 edits a second crowd, or for that matter those that want barrel-loads of gore in every movie they watch. If, however, a quiet and controlled character study is your cup of tea, where vampires don’t swagger around in capes and aren’t at war with the Lycans, then this quite human tale could well be the film for you.

Quite excellent.

Midnight Son is released on DVD on July 17th by Image Entertainment.

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