Midnight Son Movie Review
Filmmaker Leberecht takes an intriguingly askance approach to the vampire genre with this dark, romantic horror film, but after after a promising set-up seems unsure where to go from there. By shifting the focus from the insinuating, offbeat love story, the film becomes vacuously blood-soaked. And the initial sense of menace is much more interesting than the actual violence.
The film centres on Jacob (Kilberg), a night security guard who has a skin condition that makes him unusually sensitive to sunlight. After a strange encounter with a janitor (Walter), something changes in him and he starts craving meat, then raw meat, then blood. And when he inadvertently gets a taste of human blood, he can't control his hunger for it. In desperation, he turns to a nurse (Jonz) to get an illicit supply from a hospital. But after having a few blackouts, he worries that he's also hunting victims. Meanwhile, he hides all of this from his quirky new girlfriend Maya (Parish), who begins to suspect that something's up.
Everything about the film's opening act suggests intrigue and emotional confusion, from the darkly atmospheric camerawork to Kilberg's raw, engaging performance, which is tinged with grim wit. As he starts to suspect that he's a vampire, the film plays knowingly with cliches, injecting both comedy and freak-out moments along the way. Meanwhile, Kilberg and Parish develop a strong sense of chemistry that's far more believable than the way the script plots their relationship through a series of choppy romantic encounters.
Annoyingly, it's just when we start to be drawn into this scenario that Leberecht shifts gears to create a more straightforward thriller plot. The more interesting personal drama is abandoned for back-alley drug deals, a nosey detective (Cedar) and lots of unconvincing gunplay. This casual brutality eliminates any sympathy we might have felt for the characters, and turns the movie into a dull, irrelevant action-thriller. So the whole film feels as frustrating as one of Jacob and Maya's aborted attempts to deal with their growing lust. In the end, the film is worth seeing due to its inventive approach, but we wish Leberecht had maintained his creativity all the way through.