Midnight Son (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner11/01/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 88 mins

Watchable horror/thriller enlivened by strong performances, a decent script and likeably lo-fi direction, though it tails off a little in the second half when more conventional elements kick in.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Scott Leberecht, Midnight's Son (not to be confused with Midnight's Children, also out now) stars Zak Kilberg as L.A. security guard Jacob, who has a severe skin condition that causes him to catch fire if exposed to sunlight. After a doctor tells him he might be anaemic, Jacob starts drinking animal blood and gets a new lease of life, which leads to him meeting quirky, lonely coke addict Mary (Maya Parish) after a night in a bar.

When Jacob accidentally gets a taste of human blood after Maya has an unfortunately-timed nosebleed, he starts craving it and is soon hitting up shady nurse Marcus (Jo D. Jonz) for a regular blackmarket supply. However, there is also the small matter of Jacob's regular blackouts and when someone is murdered near Jacob's workplace, he begins to think he might be guilty.

The Good
Zak Kilberg delivers an engaging and likeable performance as Jacob, remaining sympathetic throughout and doing a good job of conveying the emotional conflict between his powerful new-found hunger and his essential morality. There's also strong support from both Maya Parish (who has decent chemistry with Kilberg) and Jo D. Jonz. There's even an extended genre fan-pleasing cameo from the great character actor Tracey Walter, as a janitor at Jacob's work-place.

Leberecht's direction is pleasingly lo-fi throughout, which works well with the film's studious attempts to avoid using the word ‘vampire’ and to steer clear of special effects (even if the literally inflammatory skin condition is pushing things a bit in that regard). In addition, he creates an engagingly tense atmosphere, as we constantly feel Jacob's struggle and pity him, since we can guess where it's all headed.

The Bad
The main problem is that, having established such great characters and an intriguing set-up, the second half of the film takes a nose-dive into more predictable and less engaging thriller territory, as Marcus starts threatening and manipulating Jacob into criminal activity. This is inherently less interesting and comes close to derailing the film altogether.

Worth seeing?
Despite a flawed second half, Midnight Son is, for the most part, an engaging, nicely observed and well acted indie horror that puts a refreshing lo-fi twist on the vampire movie. Worth seeing.

Film Trailer

Midnight Son (18)
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Content updated: 22/09/2018 17:45

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