Title: Midnight Son
screened at the 2011 Another Hole in the Head Film Festival
Continuing a streak of outstanding independent horror in 2011, Midnight Son is a vampire movie, but it’s unlike any other you’ve ever seen. Its vampires are neither glamorous nor particularly terrifying, lacking superpowers and even fangs. Instead, Midnight Son treats vampirism not even so much as a curse (that wouldn’t be new) as an affliction, something to be managed and, if possible, hidden. As a result, it is less scary than heartbreaking, a remarkably blunt film about shame and repression; about the toll of keeping dark personal secrets and the pain (and reward) of revealing them. Made on a shoestring but more suspenseful and involving than most films with two hundred times its budget, it’s beautifully directed by career effects guy Scott Leberecht, and features an astonishing performance by an extravagantly talented unknown named Zak Kilberg, who will hopefully get the notice he deserves.
Midnight Son‘s sole major liability is unfortunately a bit of a doozy — a violent, largely useless subplot that dominates the last half hour, breaking the mood of sadness mixed with dread that Leberecht works so hard to establish. (It’s so disruptive that I fear I may be underrating the movie on its account.) But then Leberecht rallies with a final shot that’s a visceral and thematic coup — a triumph for the characters and for the film that nearly brought tears to my eyes.
— Eugene Novikov