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Midnight Movie is Severely Flawed but Gets Some Things Right

The masked killer (Lee Main) in Jack Messitt's 2008 slasher Midnight Movie.
The masked killer from Midnight Movie.

Midnight Movie follows the employees and patrons of a rundown movie theater on the night they are screening Ted Radford’s The Dark Beneath. The turnout for the film is a paltry. Though it was never a major hit, The Dark Beneath is the source of much controversy because it is rumored to be real footage and Ted Radford is known to be a mysterious man with a unique set of skills. What no one realizes – until it’s too late – is that Ted Radford is actually trapped inside the celluloid on which the film is printed. He begins killing audience members from inside the film by using his unique set of skills and soon becomes strong enough to escape the confines of his movie and into the theater, thereby re-entering reality, where more killing takes place.

Midnight Movie is a film that I vacillate on. I go back and forth between thinking it’s a decent slasher film and then finding it to be of poor quality. The truth is that it has some strong suits but just as many faults. Midnight Movie brings a handful of unique ideas to the table but it often feels like an amalgamation of different films, most of which are superior in quality. There is a little bit of A Nightmare on Elm Street, a hint of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and a touch of Shocker mixed in.

The acting is pretty bad in Midnight Movie. Fortunately, the worst actors get killed off first. But that still leaves behind bad actors, they just aren’t as bad as those to go before them. There aren’t a lot of standout members of the cast that are particularly likable, either, so there are not a lot of characters that the audience is prone to relate to.

The effects in Midnight Movie are one of its strengths. They aren’t that bad. They are kind of OK. The FX in the film are better than the effects in a lot of other low-budget films But considering that the bar is set pretty low, that is not necessarily saying a lot.

The pacing is one of the film’s other strong suits. It’s a short film, coming in at under 80 minutes but it doesn’t wander off the beaten path too much during that time. There’s almost no character development and the only real backstory that the viewer is introduced to is that of the killer. That lack of character development and extensive backstory does free up the running time to be dedicated to chase scenes and the deaths of the film’s mostly annoying protagonists.

On a pure entertainment level, Midnight Movie is not all bad. One must suspend their disbelief in order to gain any enjoyment from film, though. Midnight Movie does build a small amount of suspense on a couple of occasions and has a few cool death scenes throughout.  This film is worth a look for die-hard slasher fans but will not appeal to everyone.


Director(s): Jack Messitt
Writer(s): Jack Messitt, Mark Garbett
Stars: Arthur Roberts, Michael Swan, Brea Grant, Mandell Maughan
Year: 2008
Studio/ Production Co: BigFoot Entertainment
Budget: $1 Million
Language: English
Length:82 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Slasher


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Written by Tyler Doupé
Tyler Doupe' is the managing editor at Wicked Horror. He has previously penned for Fangoria Mag, Rue Morgue Mag, FEARnet, Fandango, ConTV, Ranker, Shock Till You Drop, ChillerTV, ComingSoon, and more. He lives with his husband, his dogs, and cat hat(s).
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