Starring Alex Essoe, Perla Haney-Jardine, Dylan McTee, Ward Horton, Joseph Lee Anderson
Directed by Julius Ramsay
Midnighters (not to be confused with The Midnighters, 2016) is a dark and twisty tale that starts out as a horror movie and winds up a crime thriller. It’s written, directed, and produced by The Ramsay Brothers (not to be confused with the prolific Bollywood horror crew). The siblings have a solid background in writing, editing, and directing. TV credits include “The Walking Dead,” “Outcast,” and “Scream”; but Midnighters marks the feature directorial debut of Julius Ramsay.
The movie opens on a party scene. It’s New Year’s Eve, and slightly-buzzed married couple Lindsey and Jeff Pittman (Essoe, McTee) decide to drive home and hit a man walking along a dark forest-lined road. He’s a bloody mess, and there is no cellphone reception to call for help. Then, he gasps his last. In a panic, Lindsay and Jeff take the body home. They want to sober up before turning themselves in. As they rifle through his personal effects, they discover that the man was in fact armed and on his way to their house. And guess what? He’s not dead, either!
Lindsay’s no-goodnik sister, Hannah (Haney-Jardine) joins the fray, and then things really spiral out of control. As the small family is thrown headlong into a deepening mystery, they worry that no can be trusted – not even each other.
As the story unfolds, little bits of each character’s past comes to the fore. It turns out that Hannah has a connection to the man. Hence, an errand takes Hannah and Jeff away for a bit. This new wrinkle adds to the pressure when a charismatic home-invader, Smith (Ward Horton), starts putting the screws to Lindsay.
There are some tense and twitchy moments in Midnighters, as well as a few cringe-inducing scenes of torture. But mostly it’s a thriller – and a pretty predictable one at that. Fortunately, it’s never boring. Although I was able to see where every turn was headed, thanks to the fine filmmaking and able acting, I didn’t mind; I was content to just go along for the ride.
Midnighters had its World Premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 19, 2017, at the ArcLight Culver City, CA.