‘The Midnight Man’ Showcases the Horrors of Married Life
*This movie was reviewed upon request of the writer/producer, Kamal Moo. All opinions are my own.
Horror-comedy and I don’t have a good history (for reference, see my Cabin Fear review). Usually, it’s always going to lack in the comedy or the horror department, making it an uncomfortable experience for the average, stuck up horror critic like me.
I was expecting more or less the same from The Midnight Man when I was finally able to sit down and watch it. In fact, the set up was eerily similar to Cabin Fear–as beautiful (and slightly bitchy) blonde woman is going to a secluded cabin with her doughy husband. The similarities end there, and I was left with a pretty enjoyable horror comedy. Is it groundbreaking in the field of horror? No, but it was able to hold my attention and never made me angry. So, let’s break it down to its basic components.
The Midnight Man features a small cast of about six people, which gives the audience time to really get to know the protagonist–something I think always lacks in horror movies of this genre. Throughout the film, the only two people we spend a significant amount of time with are Kyle and Jessica–a young, married couple going to a secluded cabin to work on their marriage.
To be honest, a secluded cabin is not the best place to be if you’re trying to save your marriage. Just a thought.
The dynamic between the two often feels natural, but there are moments where it really feels forced. Like, whenever sex is involved. One person just asks and the other is like, “Ok!” And while I get their marriage is dying and that this is a comedy, but there’s just a lot more you can do with the sexual intimacy of a couple on the brink of divorce. There’s the opportunity for a lot of awkward, physical interactions between them.
My biggest qualm in regards to characters is Jessica. There’s really not much else going on other than she’s a bitchy wife with sadistic tendencies. I liked the actress playing her because she did the best she could do with so little to work with, and she was funny… But I just wish there was more there to her character. I get it–even as a woman–writing strong, complex female characters is challenging, especially when you’re of the opposite sex.
But at the same time, come on. Horror and sci-fi are known for their long history of having strong female protagonists, so there’s a lot of references to pull from.
Naturally, Ken Foree is the stand-out actor and character in this movie, looking suave as hell. I actually got a good laugh at the conversation he has with Jessica and Kyle once he’s taken them hostage. It makes me wish he was in more of the movie.
The story is one we’ve seen in many a horror film before. Attractive people go out to a secluded cabin to get away from the real world for a few days and get murdered in the process.
Well, that’s what would normally happen. But no one dies in this movie. No one.
Or if they did their death was just so unmemorable that I didn’t even write it down in my notes.
Instead of being a slasher or demon possession move, The Midnight Man ends up being more of a romantic comedy gone awry when a collection agent from a casino comes to collect the money Kyle owes. There are moments that lead the audience to believe this is going to be a slasher movie, but it turns out the guy in the mask is an actor hired by the wife to scare the husband. So then the husband pays the actor to scare her instead like one would do in a healthy relationship.
I will be honest right now even though it may tarnish my budding friendship with Kamal Moo:
I do not consider this a horror comedy.
It does have horror elements but not enough for me to consider it a straight horror-comedy. Which is a little disappointing to say? There are one or two jump scares (I don’t count the three dream sequences at the end of the film to be among them) and one moment of demonic possession (again, not counting the dream sequences at the end).
As an independent movie, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you go in thinking there’s going to be groundbreaking effects.
The Midnight Man is a simple picture that does try to rely on suspense rather than gore and effects for its scares. And I can’t hate them for that. It does look pretty cool at the end when Ken Foree is possessed by the Midnight Man, but that only lasts about thirty seconds before he’s back to normal.
Other than that, there isn’t much else to say about the production of this movie other than the score was pretty good too.
I guess the most realistic part of this movie is finding out the person you love and want to spend the rest of your life with is lying to your face. One of the best ways to fuck someone up is by fucking with their heart. Shit, I’m still not over my breakup with my high school boyfriend who broke up with me five days before Valentine’s Day over Facebook.
Lol, jk, I totally am.
And that shit can get especially terrifying if you discover they have some kind of addiction that’s going to impact the both of you. When it comes to a gambling addiction, a sexy black man in a suit may not come to take a toe, but it could leave the both of you with crippling debt that you can never pay off.
And as someone considering her Ph.D. right now, trust me when I say debt is the scariest thing in the world.
All in all, I give The Midnight Man a ‘meh.’
It’s not the worst movie I’ve seen since starting this blog, but it could have been a lot better if it did go more into the horror aspect. I just wanted more time with demon Ken Foree.