“Everything’s the same, ’til its not.”
Genre – Locked Building Freakout Fest
Splat Factor – Lots of blood, though the most gruesome bits occur offscreen.
Year Released – 2020 festivals/2021 wide
Where I Watched – Amazon Prime
What it is – Amy Marlowe has spent thirty years as the midnight DJ at WLST, a small radio station. But tonight she got bit by a bat on her way to work, a category 2 hurricane just hit and so the station is on lockdown, and now she’s just found out she’s gonna be replaced by a young college graduate (that may or may not be schtupping the boss…) What would YOU do? Go nuts? I knew you were cool.
Why Watch This – Midnight plays on multiple levels. A psychological thriller about a woman trying to accept that her time is up and she’s being replaced by younger woman. A crazy look into the process of becoming a vampire through the eyes of a freaked out baby vamp. A Jacob’s Ladder-esque tale where the end of someone’s career equates to death. Writer/director Eric Bloomquist doesn’t choose just one, he adds it all in, giving viewers a lot to chew on while the blood sprays and the freakouts…freak out. While this film may not be for everyone (looking at you, folks in the mood for a plot that makes sense from the jump), Midnight delivers plenty of blood, tons of insanity, and a whole lot of fun.
Like Pontypool, the story’s action in Midnight is contained in the radio station. Obviously low budget, but incredibly successful at what it’s trying to accomplish, which is to freak out viewers, and have them try to figure out what the heck is actually happening to these characters. The strange premise is carried well by the talented Caroline Williams as Amy, giving all the emotions in this roller coaster ride of a film. The rest of the cast go all-in as well, including a beautifully deadpan Nicole Kang as Sienna, the newbie who’ll be taking over Amy’s time slot, and Nicholas Tucci as the strangely off Ernie, a security guard with a strange fixation on rabies. (This was Tucci’s final film before he passed away in March, 2020; the film is dedicated to his memory.)
Part of me wants to really dig into the crazy of Midnight here, but another wants you to experience this film with a blank slate. Fine; I can’t help myself, I’ll give y’all one. There’s a scene where Amy experiences a farewell party for her final night. Extras straight from Carnival of Souls celebrate with her, along with her co-workers, some of whom…aren’t exactly who she thought they were. The scene equates retirement with a new chapter, laying one’s burden down, and death. It’s equal parts “what is this” and “omg I this is art house insanity”, and I loved it. Fans of avant-garde will eat this up. Intrigued? Yeah you are. So give Midnight a try…maybe at 11:50pm?
How To Watch – This one requires a thoroughly open mind, and appreciation of fever dream cinema. Scenes shift, switch, and – as behooves a radio station – record scratch as the story unfolds. So go in prepared for strange shenanigans, and enjoy the show!
Rating – 3.5 out of 5 pumpkins