Freaky Fridays – “After Midnight”

Horror, Cult Movies, Exploitation Cinema, 70s Schlock, and more! Let’s look at something cool!

“I had to go away for a while. I’m sorry. I love you.”

Genre: Horror Movies That Are Really Introspective Think Pieces
Year Released: 2021 (though it hit Tribeca in 2019)
Pedigree: Various film festival awards and nominations
Where I Watched: Shudder

Synopsis: Hank and Abby have been together – unmarried, but seemingly solid – for ten years. One day Abby leaves for “a while”, Hank breaks down. But he’s not alone; a monster comes at night trying to get in. Maybe.

Fabulous or Frustrating?: What the hell is this movie? I’ll answer my own question. It’s what happens when hipsters try to get deep after way too much medium quality booze.

You’d never know it’s a horror movie for 90% of the film, but for the nights when Hank is alone in the house, trying to stop something from bursting in. And…I was bored out of my skull. I went in expecting a horror story, but ended up with a relationship drama. A pretty good one, but not what was on the tin. So, not being in the mood for Blue Valentine levels of relationship introspection? I was unmoved.

The film’s first half focuses on Hank’s devolving sanity, with flashbacks to his relationship with Abby over the years. The performances feel real and understandable, the connections between characters believable. But it’s an extremely slow burn as we watch Hank lose it, see his friends try to pull him together, and watch as flashbacks of Abby show how she wasn’t exactly content in her relationship with Hank.

Then Abby returns, and they gaze deeply into their relationship, while they wait for a monster to show. Is the monster a metaphor for Hank’s sadness/anger/alcoholism? Was Abby the monster? Was Hank the one who killed their cat? (An absolutely pointless, unnecessary scene scene, btw. Would have been better if the cat returned when Abby did.) Oh I’ll spoil it because I don’t care anymore: the monster is an actual monster. The climax of the film is Hank singing (ALL OF) “Stay”, and then getting attacked in front of Abby and their friends. WTF?

This feels like somebody came up with a cool monster design, and the creators of this film just shrugged and said “let’s put it into this story, why not?” So instead of metaphors and allegory, we get a mess of genres slapped together haphazardly.

Oh who cares. I’m ticked off at this movie. I could have really loved it if I’d known what this story really was, and was in the mood for a navel gazing indie romance. Instead, I was disappointed. I don’t mind how messy the plot is – it fits a story of the disintegration of a relationship perfectly. But trying to turn this story into a horror film feels like they tacked on some genre stuff just so they could get more eyes on it.

Freak-O-Meter: 2 out of 5 Freaks

About Denise

Professional nerd. Lover of licorice.
This entry was posted in Freaky Fridays, In Horror, Movie Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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