Radford is back!
Writers: Mark Garbett, Jack Messitt
Director: Jack Messitt
Midnight Movie is essentially a supernatural slasher movie, however it tries to move beyond the standard genre tropes.
The film opens in a psychiatric hospital where movie director Ted Radford is a long term patient. He’s obsessed with a horror movie he made years ago called ‘The Dark Beneath’. One of the doctors decides to let him watch the film… next thing we know the hospital is covered with blood and Radford is missing, presumed dead.
Fast forward five years and a small town cinema is showing The Dark Beneath as a midnight movie. All starts well but during the screening the film starts switching to a modern day viewpoint of the killer in the cinema. The audience watch as the masked murderer from the movie drills into his victims, initially not knowing that what they are seeing is really happening.
The play-within-a-play structure dates back at least to Hamlet, but it’s still an interesting idea. Exactly how showing the film brings the killer to life is never explained – you could treat it as an allegory of society’s acclimatisation to violence or you could just sit back and let it wash over you.
So the idea of blurring reality with film is a good one and full marks for trying to do something different. Unfortunately it’s never developed fully, or very far at all. There are some really interesting scenes at the end, but most of the time the film is just another psycho slasher. To be honest the main reason I kept watching was because I wanted to see the Compulsory Cute Kid eviscerated!
Speaking of which, the characters are stereotypes through and through. Again that might be a deliberate fusion of film and reality. But that’s not how it comes over.
I can see the potential of Midnight Movie, it has some interesting postmodern ideas. Unfortunately it lacks the self-confidence to push these far enough and the end result is fairly ordinary.