Midnight Movie (2008)

Centring around a small group of people who are attending a screening of an old, fictional 70’s horror movie called The Dark Beneath, Midnight Movie sees The Dark Beneath’s mentally unstable director taking on the guise of his cult movie’s antagonist to pick off the audience members one by one. They soon realise that they are locked inside the dilapidated cinema with a masked killer who has seemingly come straight from the screen, brandishing his trademark industrial corkscrew drill with the intention of continuing his brutal murder spree.

‘Original’ is not a word that can be used to describe Midnight Movie. ‘Derivative’ might be more appropriate. Coming across like a barely disguised reworking of Cuts meets Demons, Midnight Movie is less of an homage and more straight-up plagiarism. It’s characters are the only thing saving it from becoming a completely banal rip-off. They might not be memorable or well-written, or even well-acted for the most part but they are one of the few saving graces in a film that’s bogged down in predictability and cliché. An imposing-looking, hirsute and ornery biker is the best of the bunch and helps to inject some much needed humour into the proceedings where the rest of the cast fail to.

The film is interspersed with grainy black and white scenes of the fictional horror movie as it plays on the cinema’s screen and looks like a direct, albeit campy and verging on parody, copy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, complete with crazy relatives luring teenagers into their house of horrors only to be offed by the man in the mask. Despite a lack of creativity, these scenes actually work well within the confines of the real movie and help to break up the monotony of the slew of humdrum murders that occur almost like clockwork.

Midnight Movie isn’t actually as atrocious as all the separate elements should rightfully make it when added together. Most of the acting is downright terrible, the action lazily choreographed and the kills themselves surprisingly tame but there is still an odd, implausible charm at the heart of it all. Unfortunately, just when it all seems to be winding up in the expected but curiously enjoyable way, the film takes on a supernatural turn and becomes confused and bewilderingly daft.

Midnight Movie is more than the sum of its disappointing parts but still fails to inspire. Some of it is unexpectedly creative but most is unoriginal and all too familiar. It’s watchable, but only just.

Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

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