Directed by Scott Leberecht
Distributed by Image Entertainment
Horror fans exasperated by sparkly vampires might do well to check out Midnight Son, a moody vampire love story that’s as rough and violent as it is heartfelt and romantic. Lensed in 2007 and only now getting a DVD release through Image Entertainment, Midnight Son is something of an anti-Twilight, what with its gritty realism and low-budget veneer, and is the perfect antidote to the overly polished (and rather trite) horror/romance hybrids that seem to be the rage these days.
Son follows Jacob (Kilberg), a 24-year-old security guard who suffers from a rare skin condition that leaves him incredibly sensitive to sunlight. Also, he’s anemic. And he craves the taste of blood. So, you know…vampire. Jacob lives a solitary life, spending his time between his dead-end job and his closed-up apartment, until he meets Mary (Parish), a pretty bartender who has an addiction of her own. The two attempt to find happiness together, even as their vices continually get in their way. After two acts of this engaging and rather difficult love story, the final third of the film swings in an interesting direction with one of the supporting characters, lending a bit more of a threat to the proceedings (I’ll leave it to you to discover more about the plot and its twists).
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the film is its approach to vampirism. It’s nothing new for horror movies to treat that affliction as a metaphor for addiction (and Son certainly covers that ground), but it’s interesting how this film also acts as essentially a relationship drama between two damaged people, each ill and enslaved in their own way. One imagines the film might have been equally as powerful even without the trappings of the genre. Having said that, it hardly shies away from the horror inherent in its plot. There is plenty of violence and bloodshed to be found here, most of it dealt with in the same shockingly straightforward manner as the rest of the film.
The movie isn’t exactly a home run, however. The grainy, noisy image gets pretty distracting at points, the pace is damned near glacial at times, and a third act confrontation with three lead characters and a handgun is far from convincing.
Image has put together a decent enough DVD for this film. The image and audio are probably the best that can be expected, given the movie’s low budget. The smattering of bonus features is nice enough, and includes a very brief collection of deleted scenes, a spoilery trailer, a set of decent interviews (with a particularly lengthy talk with writer/director Leberecht), and a fun commentary track with the director and actors.
This film will most certainly not be for all viewers, but those willing to look past its limitations should find Midnight Son to be a welcome addition to its sub-genre.
3 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5