If you’re setting out to create a largely formulaic serial killer movie – and we can only assume that was prolific producer Randall Emmett’s intention with his directorial debut Midnight in the Switchgrass – then certain genre clichés must be adhered to. Firstly, you need a creepy bad guy and here Lukas Haas as the God-fearing prostitute killer does his job well. You need a cop on the edge, someone with a ‘to hell with it all’ kick-ass attitude and a hint of recklessness; enter Megan Fox as driven FBI agent Rebecca Lombardo.
If you’re really targeting the VOD market, and your misguided ambition is to be found in the section ‘there’s nothing else to watch and I’m desperate’ then you need a healthy dose of misogyny, and boy, does Emmett really go all out here. Women are beaten up, gagged, scantily clad, abused, and bitten. Even Fox, who despite being set up as a saviour in this male-dominated world, is introduced with a shot Michael Bay would have been proud of in Transformers.
And then if you’re really shooting for the stars, you bring in a former A-lister looking for an easy paycheck; introducing a waxwork replica of Bruce Willis looking as bored as the audience and appearing in fewer scenes than he does in the trailer.
No, Midnight in the Switchgrass is one to avoid. Haas makes the best of his role and Emile Hirsch as the time-weary local cop makes what he can of a weak character, but they deserve better. Everything from the direction to the plot to the tragically unsatisfactory finale is all blandly mediocre.
MIDNIGHT IN THE SWITCHGRASS is out now on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital