Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Jack Messitt
Cast: Rebekah Brandes, Daniel Bonjour, Greg Cirulnick
Midnight Movie doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense. It’s about a craze murderer who made a movie about a crazed murderer. Of course he cast himself as said murderer, and rather than hiring legit actors, he just killed everyday individuals and filmed it. The heinous act got him locked away in a mental ward, but a therapeutic session gone wrong enables the man to return to his ways as a serial killer in addition to escaping confinement. Fast forward a handful of years and a rundown theater is planning on screening the killer’s film as the weekend horror show. It’s no surprise to see the killer show up at the theater, it is however, a surprise at exactly how he gets there. There’s a super strange paranormal spin that empowers the lunatic, and it makes no sense, but still rings as good fun.
This is an outright homage piece to slasher films of the 1980s, and it’s a blast. The acting is perfectly wooden and should appeal to those who cherish B-movie fare, the killer is inventive and sports a nifty weapon and mask, and the characters are diverse and colorful enough to really get behind. You love some of them, and you hate some of them, but in the tradition of vintage slasher works, just about everyone dies anyway. So, don’t get too invested.
The cast, while – for the most part – comprised of young unknowns do well enough to see the picture through (I enjoyed the performances of Rebekah Brandes, Justin Baric, Stan Ellsworth and Michael Schwartz in particular). And director Jack Messitt is clearly familiar with genre techniques and practices. He delivers a fluid film that feels cohesive even though it’s light years from it. When you can take a concept as ludicrous as this and make it feel like an embraceable adventure, you’re doing something very right.
Midnight Movie isn’t going to work for everyone. Those who take big issue with inconsistencies, plot holes and abandonment of logic are probably going to hate it. But those who don’t mind playing dumb for 90 minutes, and are eager to jump into a slasher that takes them back in time a few decades are going to see the positives of this inspired indie piece, and they’re going to want a whole lot of popcorn.