2008 / Director. Jack Messitt.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
MIDNIGHT MOVIE is a supernatural slasher film that throws back to a simpler time in the genre, and despite knocking on the door of torture-porn it isn’t excessive and it has a real classic feel to it.
The movie takes place inside a run down cinema during a rare midnight screening of a notorious horror film from the 70s. The film in question has only ever been exhibited once before, during which time a massacre took place. With only a handful of people in attendance the film plays and comes to life in a brutal and ludicrous way. The killer is able to leap off the screen and into the real world whenever he senses fear and he drags the victims back into his celluloid world.
This is a dumb movie and there’s no doubt about that, but it works rather well nonetheless. The confines of the cinema setting keep the story contained and it moves along as a breakneck pace. Shot inside a real cinema that hasn’t seen a handyman’s touch in 40 years, the whole atmosphere feels nostalgic and familiar. The killer is also a fantastic creation and has the qualities of a franchised boogieman.
MIDNIGHT MOVIE has many shortcomings and cannot hide from it’s own ridiculous nature. It was shot on a small budget and perhaps with a larger production, the supernatural elements would bare more weight. It was made with a clear love for horror and the violence is handled well. The kills are good, although restrained. There’s a real sense that interfering editorial fingers had too much control in order to receive a respectable theatrical cut. Thankfully there is a director’s cut available on DVD, which I look forward to checking out.
This is a movie that recalls classics like POPCORN and DEMONI, and it pays a less-than-subtle homage to THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. It’s a lot of fun for people willing to be generous with it and ought to satisfy those with a penchant for outrageous budget horror.