Thursday, September 13, 2012

MIDNIGHT SON (2011)

It is a minor miracle that vampires have survived the waterboarding-down that they have suffered in order to make good dream boyfriends for dull suburban moms.  And yet recent history has seen gems like THIRST, STAKE LAKE, and DAYBREAKERS treat vamps in a very serious way and succeed, against all odds!  MIDNIGHT SON doesn't quite reach those storied heights, but its aim is the same: treat vampirism as a serious made-up disease, worthy of study, and not as an excuse to disrobe young white hairless boys.


Jacob is a white hairless night watchman at some business.  He has to avoid the sun because of a skin condition (just like Leatherface in nu-TCM—be sure to ask Gunnar Hansen about this when you next see him, then sit back and enjoy!).  He meets coke-habitue lollipop & cigarette waitress Liz at some club.  Good news: she's DTF!  Bad fortune following: Jacob is fixing to turn 25, the age at which his night-janitor friend speculates things become what they are, which for this film means that he's turning full vampire.


MIDNIGHT SON isn't really a horror movie for much of its own life.  It's more like a disease drama with romantic elements.  Jacob's struggle to parse his burgeoning thirsts and interactions with his new thug friend who takes out the biohazard trash at the hospital could really fit into a TV-movie about drug addiction or whatever.  His only hope is Liz the Cokehead, who discovers his talent at painting (the sun, over and over) and gets him a lucrative gallery spot.


I know this sounds very TWILIGHTy, but it's sort of not.  Jacob's condition is center-stage and even cockblocks the love scenes.  The slow spiral towards a climax is what drives the film, not scenes of girls and their vampire boys lying in meadows.  If anything, this is more reminiscent of THE ADDICTION and similarly bleak urban vampire-as-infected stuff.


It's shot well and carefully composed, but the narrative seems a little unfocused.  The pacing of the story has issues, which seems really weird to me, as I suspect this is an old script (cigarette girls at nightclubs, VHS rental stores, and flip phones all have cameos).  There should have been plenty of time to tweak it.  It also lacks gore or frights, which could be an issue if you take the plunge under the pretense of watching a horror film.  I think TWILIGHT actually had a bigger body count than this.


So yeah, MIDNIGHT SON, it's okay.  Not boring or anything, but it's kind of a middling vamp movie overall, even if it easily smokes recent fare.


Look at all this fulsome praise, though:
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/midnight-son/
http://cinemaheadcheese.blogspot.com/2012/08/movie-review-midnight-son-2012.html
http://talkofhorrors.blogspot.com/2012/09/midnight-son-2011.html

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