Midnight Movie (2009) Review
Written by: Decisi8ns
As current Horror movies are being made…or should I say “Remade”, I seem to watch less and less of the new stuff, and continue viewing my tried and true older DVD’s of the classics. Except for this movie. It should remind you of other Horror franchises, while trying out a somewhat new idea. I was entertained (except for parts at the very end), so the movie did its job.
The cast is full of unknowns. You might know some of them, but I didn’t recognize a single soul. The star of this movie is also the lead (someone did a good call in casting), in one Rebekah Brandes. I hope to see her in more Horror movies, since she has some skill in acting. The remaining cast was average or worse…some being much worse!
While going from non-existent, to showing a little, to full out gore…the special effects were great! I don’t think a single CGI shot was used, and if it was, then you got me. Sure, you have some CGI here and there, but I don’t think any was used for actual gore.
For such a short movie (only 80 minutes), you still have a beginning, middle, and end. Although the end seems a bit rushed, it’s still there. It begs for a sequel that hopefully brings back some of the cast, but not everyone.
Our movie opens with a patient, whose name is Mr. Ted Radford (Arthur Roberts) being transferred to viewing room of sorts. It is his own movie that he made back in the late 1960’s. As the movie begins, he bites into his own wrist to get blood to use for writing cryptic symbols on the floor. The next day Dr. Wayne returns to the hospital only to find everyone dead.
Five years pass, and we are now at a rundown theater. They are showing a “Cult” movie called “The Dark Beneath” at Midnight. Now you understand the title. We see our staff in the theater. The manager Bridget (Rebekah Brandes), Kenny (Shaun Ausmus) and Rachael (Brea Grant). Two bikers show up (my favorite couple in the movie) and get tickets for the Midnight Movie, Harley (Stan Ellsworth) and Babe (Melissa Steach). Timmy (Justin Baric) wants to see the movie, but he’s too young. Bridget sends him home. These two are brother and sister, and Bridget acts like the adult since their own mother is gone. Timmy is very annoying, so at least we’ll have a break from seeing him again.
Bridget’s boyfriend Josh (Daniel Bonjour) stops by the theater. He talks her into watching the movie with him, so she puts Kenny in charge. Most of your talking in the theater before the movie starts begins now. It does set up things, and gives you character development…but it comes off as a bit boring. Mario (Greg Cirulnick) and Samantha (Mandell Maughan) show up and sit with Bridget and Josh. Now comes the real WTF moment in my opinion for the story.
After the teens argue about the movie/theater, an older couple comes out of the theater complaining about it being in black and white and “how scary can that be?” In the world that I happen to live in, older people are more accepting of older films, and it’s the teens who are against anything that isn’t in HD with explosions and or blood/nudity every thirty seconds. Not sure where the older couple joke was supposed to go, but it didn’t go anywhere with me. As they walk away we see Detective Barrons (Jon Briddell) standing outside the theater. He has an obsession about Mr. Radford and thinks that he’ll show up at the theater when his movie is being played.
Sully (Michael Schwartz) shows up, and Josh invites him to sit with the group. More back-story is brought up within the group. Barrons buys a ticket and enters the theater. The movie begins, and our stars for the older movie are: Bobby (James Michael Mahoney), Monica (Kathryn Aagesen), Lucinda (Dinora Walcott), and Jackie (Ashley Black). Now, it makes no sense to me…but why make a movie (that is supposed to have been made in 1965 roughly) that looks new with some black and white effect added to it, instead of just filming those scenes with an older camera? The effect would have been much better, since the way they show this “Old” movie isn’t working.
The stoned out chick is the funniest of the four in the van. While the older movie sets itself up, the teens talk amongst themselves some. You definitely get that vibe for “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, while watching the older movie…but it still makes itself a bit different. Detective Barrons notices someone entering the theater and thinks that it’s probably Radford but it’s Dr. Wayne. The two men sit together and talk some while watching the movie.
The Killer (Lee Main) gets his first victim and after the kill, the film does a strange blur/jumping effect. After Kenny is suckered into going downstairs to change the syrup for the fountain machine, Bridget leaves the theater after being upset over the older woman’s scars in the movie. Bridget also has scars, since her father would abuse her and Timmy. Back to Kenny and he’s almost done, but now we see him in the movie. This is our first glimpse at the film-reality entering the normal reality. Kenny is killed, and is shown back at the house setting for the older movie.
The teens at the theater are not the brightest bunch since they just shrug it off, but since Bridget was still outside the theater she didn’t see it. If she did, then she clearly would have recognized Kenny and knew something was going on. But that will happen a bit later with another kill. Bridget and Josh return to the movie and Sully’s stomach starts to bother the group, so he goes to the bathroom.
While Sully moves around in the bathroom with no lights, the film at the theater does it change effect. The group now sees Sully in the bathroom on the big screen. The Killer uses his corkscrew weapon and removes his heart. The film changes again, and goes back to the house. Rachael goes to the bathroom, sees blood and runs away. The movie view changes again to the lobby and we see Rachael trying to call for help but is killed. The teens still think that it’s all some prank, but the Detective clues them in that it’s real.
As everyone stays together in one group, they find Timmy hiding in the theater. Now the movie becomes annoying with the kid. They are all trapped inside the theater. No phones will work, and all doors are locked. Even the glass won’t break, since some type of magic is keeping them inside.
It wouldn’t be a Horror movie without some type of nudity. One of the chicks from the van in the older film goes to the house looking for her friends, and ends up getting her shirt dirty. So she takes a shower?! Why not just clean the shirt? Anyways, we get to see her topless for a brief second. Oh, it’s the chick with the glasses. After she gets clean from the shower, the Killer makes her the next victim.
After killing her, the Killer quickly enters the theater and Dr. Wayne tries to talk to him. The Killer (who I will call Radford from now on) slices the Doctor’s throat, and after Barrons shoots Radford in the shoulder, he vanishes back to the movie. Bridget gets the idea of using the movie point of view to help them as a warning for when Radford enters their reality.
While the group tries to find an open office window, Radford can smell their fear and leaves the movie. The open office window closes on Samantha’s fingers, trapping her there. Barrons shoots Radford several times and runs out of bullets, but it does nothing. Mario then turns into Super-Chicken and leaves her girlfriend and the Detective behind to die. I must say that the effect used for the double kill was very cool, and it took long enough for some blood to be shown.
While Bridget and Timmy are hiding, Josh finds them. Harley and Babe are watching the movie, and Super-Chicken…I mean Mario shows up. Harley then proceeds to beat the crap out of him for leaving his girlfriend to die. Bridget talks Harley out of killing Mario, saying that a knife would be too fast of a kill. Okay, she didn’t do that (the part about the knife being too fast of a kill)…but since the Detective is dead I really wanted Harley to kill the coward. A nearby cop looks the theater over, and can’t see anyone inside the theater, but the group inside can see the Cop just fine. Another showing for the magic power that the movie can somehow use to alter reality. Bridget thinks about stopping the movie, but the projector door is locked. Timmy uses the air ducts to crawl to the room, while Harley bangs on the door to lead him.
Josh finds Radford, who is going after Timmy, and distracts the killer. Timmy opens the door, and Harley shoves the projector over and stops the movie. It isn’t over though, since the projector starts right back up again. The group is split in two, with Harley, Babe, and Timmy in a small room. Harley is claustrophobic, so the room is making him breathe hard. Radford kills Harley and takes him away. Shame….he was the cool one.
The only one left in the movie is the stoner-chick (the other girl was taken out by the Mother a while back), and we see Radford and his mother talking. We get another clue about Radford needing fear to hunt/track with. Babe becomes the next victim. Radford finds Timmy, and they do this stupid one step, then two-step following scene that ends with Timmy running. Mario shows up and runs past Timmy. At this point, Mario really should have used an Invincibility Star (okay, lame joke. Sue me) but doesn’t, and Radford takes him instead. We’re treated to an electrocution kill that is reminiscent of Luke against the Emperor from “Return of the Jedi”.
Josh (with steel pipe in hand) sees Radford and goes after him. Since Josh isn’t afraid of Radford, Josh has the advantage. After going after Radford, Josh loses him around a corner. When Josh returns to Bridget, he sees Radford behind her. Josh gets worried/scared, and that’s when Radford attacks. He throws his corkscrew weapon and nails Josh in the eye/head.
I’m not sure if the writers were thinking of this, but having the older black and white movie’s main killer character have so many traits is a bit cool when you think of it. If this “Movie” were made before the others (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream) it would give you the impression that they copied parts of this movie for their own. The setting for Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Mask for Jason, the hand weapon for Freddy, the walk that the killer would use in Scream. Since the older movie is fake, it doesn’t work, but only if it were real would you have to say “I wonder if they copied the older movie”.
After finally finding Timmy, Bridget and him go to their special place where they would go when their father would abuse them. Timmy’s place is saying the names for the 2003 Chicago Cubs lineup, and Bridget would recite the Bible. Radford sneaks up on them, but he cannot attack…until Bridget opens her eyes and see him. She obviously gets scared, since we see her waking up in the film world. After Bridget manages to escape her room, she explores the house and finds the other victims of Radford’s in separate rooms. One room has the Hospital staff, while another room has the kids from the Hippie Van. When she finds her friends, that’s when we see that she herself is dead from a stomach wound. Even though everyone was killed in their reality, they are still alive in the film reality…to be playmates for Radford later on.
The last quarter of the movie seemed rushed, since you could have had more going on in the film reality. If only the movie was another twenty minutes longer, so much more could have been explained.
Radford’s mother knocks Bridget out and when she comes too, we see Timmy on a table beside her. Radford starts to play “This Little Piggy” with Bridget, but it’s the Hell version. You know, the one where you use Hoof Nippers (I had to research what the tool was for cutting) and cut off the person’s toes. Radford tortures Bridget, but she won’t allow him any screams, fear, or pain to give him pleasure. Radford gets upset and flips her table over, setting Bridget free. Before Radford can strike again, guess who shows up? It’s the stoner-chick! How come she’s still alive? Bridget makes use of the distraction and used her wrist strap (that has a sliver of metal attached to it, or it could be a nail/screw) to puncture Radford’s throat. Radford drops, and Bridget removes Timmy from the table…and we see his back wound. As brother and sister try to leave the house, we see that stoner-chick is finally dead. The mother attacks Bridget, but Timmy kills her.
With Radford chasing Bridget and Timmy we should be reaching the end…but unfortunately it goes a bit too long. As the chase is going along, Timmy trips and falls (of course), and while Bridget helps him up…we see “The End” on the screen that she can somehow see as well. Bridget then takes Timmy and throws him through the screen, saving him before the movie ends.
So much goes wrong with just a few seconds of extra footage. If the movie ended with Bridget screaming “NO” with “The End” showing, then that would have been great in my opinion. They all died, are stuck to be tortured by Radford for who knows how long (until someone might save them in the sequel). Instead you have a kid survivor, that has NO wound in his back now (that magically healed itself), and the reality-magic can now be used by anyone instead of just Radford since he was the only one going back and forth on his own…until Timmy escapes.
Since the movie is over, the magic hold over the theater is broken. The Cops show up, and they find Barrons gun at the scene. They also find Timmy and the movie reel, to which one of the Cops says, “They’ll tell us what we need, eventually”.
I’d rather just have the film reel and the Detective’s gun left behind as evidence for someone to figure out the events that happened that night…instead of having an extra kid along whose story NO ONE will ever listen to or believe.
The ending really upsets me, but since I’ve seen the movie once…all I have to do is stop the movie when it says “The End” on the older film and I’m a happy camper. The kid living at the end really ruins the Horror movie vibe. Sure, you usually have two people alive (or sometimes one) in most Horror films, but why not just kill them all? Don’t save the second most annoying character (only behind coward-boy who gets electrocuted, so it’s all good) just to have him come back in a possible sequel! If anyone was to live, it should have been Bridget. She was the levelheaded one, and could actually act. Oh well. It really doesn’t matter since I doubt a sequel will be made.
The budget according to IMDB was close to one million. The special effects were the high point of the movie, since acting and film locations were lower (cost wise). You have three areas in the movie: A hospital, a movie theater, and the land/house for the older movie. If you think that this movie seems poor looking for what they spent…check out Trancers 6. The budget for that movie had to be fifty thousand…and it clearly shows.
What is funny though…is that twenty years from now…if another movie like this is made and shows “Midnight Movie” in their movie….you would have a movie about teens watching a “Cult” movie about teens watching a “Cult” movie. Funny huh? Bottom line, the movie is worth checking out. Sure the beginning is boring (in the theater), but once the fun begins it’s non-stop. You can easily find worse Horror movies out there than this one.