film reel image

film reel image

Monday, March 19, 2018

Midnighters 2017 * * Stars

MidnightersDirector: Julius Ramsay
Year: 2017
Rated NR
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Alex Essoe, Perla Haney-Jardine, Dylan McTee

A gloomy setting that projects light fog and early morning dew. A hooey story that unfolds like a blandly horrific stage play. A torture scene where some guy's fingers are driven through a chair with hammer and nails. Another torture scene where a girl's face is struck three times and all she does is put a tiny bandage on her forehead (huh?). It's all here in 2017's Midnighters (my latest review).

Taking place on New Year's Eve, reckoning itself as poor man's Kubrickian, and distributed by Eagle Films, Midnighters chronicles a couple whose marriage may be on the downslope. Half-drunk and possibly upset with each other, they accidentally drive over a man as he's walking down a desolate road. Being that they're in the middle of nowhere, the husband and wife take the dead body and then later on, try to cover everything up. Unknowns Ward Horton, Dylan McTee, and Alex Essoe round out the cast. Their acting is anywhere between overreaching to just plain middling.

Image result for midnighters 2017 movie scenesMidnighters has its director (Julius Ramsay) clearly being inspired by 1998's A Simple Plan. "Plan" is a mean and lean drama that leaves you shaken and disturbed. Its varied twists and turns are effective and well, "simple". Midnighters on the other hand, over-complicates itself. It may have "Plan's" similar musical score but it surprisingly harbors a lack of suspense. With its weird plot contrivances and its push for trying to be too clever, Midnighters goes AWOL as thriller-based cinema. It never quite distresses you like it should.

Julius Ramsay's direction is palatable so the biggest culprit for Midnighters has to be its shambolic screenplay (written by Ramsay's brother, Alston Ramsay). Alston creates a film experience where you don't have a clear idea of who the protagonists or the antagonists are. Obviously inexperienced at his craft, Alston seems to literally be making up stuff as he goes along. Oh and he insults the audience by thinking it's a victory for the heroine to escape with $50,000 (that's a nothing amount in today's world). 

Image result for midnighters 2017 movie scenesIn conclusion, I've reviewed two films recently with the words "midnight" in their titles. Guess what, Midnight Special and now Midnighters are both pretty lame. Thankfully we have 1978's Midnight Express to fall back on (ha-ha). Rating: 2 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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