Thursday, July 12, 2012

DVD Review: MIDNIGHT SON (2011)


Label: Image Entertainment

Release Date: July 17th 2012
Region Code: 1 NTSC
Rating: Not Rated
Duration: 92 mins
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Video: 16:9 Widescreen (1.78:1)

Director: Scott Leberecht
Cast: Zak Kilberg, Maya Parish, Tracey Walter, Arlen Escarpeta, Kevin McCorkle, Jo D. Jonz

Synopsis: Midnight Son (2011) is the story of Jacob, a young man confined to a life of isolation, due to a rare skin disorder that prevents him from being exposed to sunlight. His world opens up when he meets Mary, a local bartender, and falls in love. Tragically, Jacob's actions become increasingly bizarre as he struggles to cope with the effects of his worsening condition. Forced by the disease to drink human blood for sustenance, he must control his increasingly violent tendencies as local law enforcement narrow their focus on him as a suspect in a series of grisly murders.

The Film: The vampire genre like the pale-skinned corpses of its victims has been drained of it's vitality time and time again through the ages and maybe never more so than with the tepid tween juggernaut Twilight and it's sequels.  Fear not though for not unlike like the fanged creatures of the night the genre is resilient and regularly resurrected and unleashed upon the masses with renewed vigor and threat - which brings us to director Scott Leberecht's low-budget vamper Midnight Son

This is a quiet sorta thriller that's definitely not of the shock and awe variety, it's more indie and thoughtful but also dark and quite wonderful, too. Zak Kilberg (Zombie Strippers) portrays Jacob a night security guard at an office building where he works alongside a sage custodian (Tracey Walter, Repo Man). Jacob has suffered with a rare skin disorder from a young age that forces him to avoid sunlight - this particular condition may or may not be vampirism - its not really spelled out for you clearly but that's definitely what it feels like. Aside from the sun-aversion he is also super pale and anemic - the worst complexion you've seen in sometime. On top of this he has a growing thirst for blood which early on he procures from a meat market which he keeps in a thermos and sip from a coffee cup.

As the film moves on in its quietly intense sorta way Jacob's symptoms start to worsen and he becomes more and more jaundiced in appearance, the iris of his eyes turn a striking yellow and his blood lust grows more and more insatiable. When the meat market no longer proves sufficient enough supplier he turns to a hospital employee (Jo D. Jonz) who really only complicates things with his less-than-legal  skill set for acquiring blood on-demand.

Along the way Jacob meets and falls in love with a bartender named Mary whom struggles with a her own addiction - cocaine.  The couple each struggle on their own to maintain a normal relationship in the face of  their own increasing demand for their drugs of choice.

I talk about the film having a quiet intensity to it but it is also quite violent at times if short on gore but there's blood aplenty. Where the film excels is as a modern vamp story of a lonely man's struggle to maintain normalcy and indulge in the pursuit of love during a very strange time in his life. There's some great performances here and particularly from Kilberg who nails the loneliness of the character, there's some nice character moments and  pathos that really sucks you in.  

Special Features:
- Audio Commentary with Director Scott Leberecht and Stars Zak Kilberg, Maya Parish and Jo D. Jonz
- Interview with Zak Kilberg (4:43), Maya Parish (5:02)), Jo D. Jonz (5:02), Scott Leberecht (17:47) and Lyn Moncrieg (8:09)) 
- Three Deleted Scenes ((1:58) 16:9 
- Trailer (2:27) 16:9

Verdict:  This gets off to a slow start but if your looking for a vampire flick with a new take on things that doesn't bleed rote familiarity director Scott Leberecht's Midnight Son may be just what you're looking for. The film shares a kinship with films off-kilter but awesome tales of vampirism like George A. Romero's Martin (1976) and Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark (1987) - if that strikes you as a good thing this is an easy recommend. 3 outta 5