Directed by Scott Leberecht
Distributed by Monster Pictures
Are you sick and tired of whiny emo vampires and the kind of love-struck glitter-knobs that have been dragging the good name of all things bloodsucker through the mud in recent years? Hardly surprising if you are. Well, thankfully director Scott Leberecht is along to provide an antidote with his dark, intelligent and emotional take on vampirism, Midnight Son.
Jacob (Kilberg) suffers from a rare skin disorder that sees him unable to go out in sunlight. A budding and talented artist, Jacob is forced to live as a recluse by day in his basement apartment whilst working the night shift as an office building security guard. Frequenting the late night bars after his shift ends is a regular occurrence for our lonely protagonist, and one evening he gets into conversation — and, ultimately, a relationship — with bartender Mary (Parish). As Mary increasingly integrates with Jacob’s world, his newfound happiness proves to be short-lived when symptoms of his condition take a turn for the decidedly nightmarish.
Fighting to control, and conceal, his increasing thirst for blood Jacob strikes a morbid deal with shady hospital attendant Marcus (Jonz), who for a price provides him with blood bags that would otherwise be discarded as bio-waste. Dealing with such individuals, however, always proves to be more troublesome than it may appear and Jacob soon finds himself in over his head and quickly losing control. With bodies piling up, the police on his tail, and Mary coming ever closer to discovering the truth of his affliction, Jacob’s entire world is about to turn upside down.
As Uncle Creepy mentioned in his own review of the film, to go into any further detail regarding just how Midnight Son unfolds would be to do a major disservice to the film and its audience. Leberecht has crafted a confident and taut story here, populated with identifiable characters good, bad, and somewhere in between. Jacob’s plight is excellently handled by lead Kilberg, his internal conflict deftly realised and considered, making the spontaneous losses of control all the more shocking when they occur. Similarly excellent is Jo D. Jonz as the villainous Marcus, whose initial friendly demeanour gives way to something much more gleefully vicious as he realises just how dependent on his dubious “services” the meek Jacob really is.
A perfectly measured pace and minimalistic style bear testament to Leberecht talents as Midnight Son remains consistently gripping throughout with nary a minute wasted while exploring the characters and their predicaments. Occasionally muddy visuals bear the signs of a meagre budget, but Leberecht’s sense of control is ever-present. Comparisons to George A. Romero’s Martin are obvious, and valid, but Midnight Son is entirely its own beast whose strengths push it far from the world of mimicry or imitation. It works as a thriller, it works as a horror film, and it works as existential drama and love story — all in all, Midnight Son is one damned fine film, and easily the best vampiric horror yarn to grace screens in quite some time.
Pleasingly, Monster Pictures give Midnight Son a pretty good treatment for DVD with the trailer, various deleted scenes and cast and crew interviews eating up a good amount of time for those interested. Backing that up is a full feature commentary track which, while occasionally a little dry as director Leberecht focuses on technicality at the expense of enthusiasm, is well worth a listen. Pick this one up — the accolade is more than deserved.
4 1/2 out of 5
3 1/2 out of 5