Review: Midnight Son / Cert: 18 / Director: Scott Leberecht / Screenplay: Scott Leberecht / Starring: Zak Kilberg, Maya Parish, Jo D. Jonz, Arlen Escarpeta / Release Date: February 11th 2013
We love a good “vampire romance” here at Starburst HQ. But the teen delights of the Twilight saga... not so much. You’ll forgive us, then, for being somewhat trepidatious in approaching Midnight Son, with its moody promotional poster of a blood-flecked, starry-eyed dude and his pouting squeeze sporting prominent neck-puncture wounds. Fortunately Midnight Son is a vampire film with a bit more bite that your average Twilight flick because it’s not really a vampire film at all, more a drama-with-horror about a tragically sick man with an inhuman addiction.
Jacob (Kilberg, giving an intense and often mesmerising performance) is a hip twentysomething Californian with a growing appetite for raw red meat and, eventually, cups of cow blood which he procures from his strangely incurious local butcher. He also has a “skin disorder” which makes him a bit sensitive to bright sunlight. See where we’re going here? Jacob strikes up a passionate relationship with coked-up bartender Mary (Parish), who sticks by Jacob despite his eyes going weird in private moments and his increasingly scary, erratic behaviour. Meanwhile Jacob’s obsession with the claret is becoming ever more intense and he starts to take greater and greater risks to satisfy his cravings.
Midnight Son is unabashedly low-fi and low budget, giving it an intimacy and intensity better funded films inevitably sacrifice. To all intents and purposes Jacob is a vampire, but don’t expect stakes, garlic and holy water, or even much use of the word itself. Jacob’s condition is very much a metaphor for our very modern addiction to addictions and much more is, initially at least, implied than depicted. But the film loses some of its inventiveness as it spirals towards its garish blood-drenched finale. Jacob and Mary’s stuttering relationship develops the only way it can and Midnight Son, despite the compelling central performances which power it, can’t quite overcome some of its first-half longueurs nor avoid the inevitability of its climax. It’s heartening to welcome some new blood (ouch) into the surely-past-its-sell-by-date vampire genre, though, and we’d be willing to stake (ahh) good money that Leberecht is a director we’ll be hearing more from in years to come.
Extras: Trailer / Audio commentary with cast and crew / Deleted scenes / Cast and crew interviews