The Midnight Man (2016)
the midnight man | travis zariwny | logan creran | robert englund | grayson gabriel | remake | united states | canada | monster | monsters | creature | ritual | lin shaye | emily haine | gabrielle haugh | kyle strauts
Film: The Midnight Man
Director: Travis Zariwny
Writer: Travis Zariwny
Starring: Logan Creran, Robert Englund and Grayson Gabriel
This film begins in 1953. We have three kids inside of a house playing a game called The Midnight Game. The goal is to survive from midnight until 3:33am from a creature called The Midnight Man. The three kids are Summer H. Howell, Meredith Rose and Keenan Lehmann. They all have a candle and are inside of a circle of salt. Rose’s candle goes out and she freaks out, leaving the circle. The Midnight Man then pulls her into the darkness. The other two have their candles lit and blood comes toward their circle. Rose’s head is brought back to where they can see it and blood comes out their mouth as the Midnight Man, Kyle Strauts, talks to them. Lehmann flees with Howell following him. He leaves the house and she tells him to come back, this is against the rules of the game. He pleads to her until he is smashed into a bloody mess.
We then shift to present day. Howell grew up to be Lin Shaye. She has dementia and still lives in the same house. She is being watched over by her granddaughter, Gabrielle Haugh. Shaye is quite ornery, but we do see that she loves Haugh. Shaye wants all the windows sealed and doors locked. Haugh assures her she will.
Haugh talks to a guy on the phone about coming over since they haven’t seen each other for a bit. He confirms he will be over by ten and for her to leave the door unlocked. Shaye is awake and talking to herself, so Haugh comes up. Shaye demands she gets her vanity mirror for her. Haugh goes to where she thinks it is and Shaye states it isn’t there. She says it is in attic inside of a traveling trunk.
She goes up to the attic and we get a scene with a creepy, real looking mannequin. Haugh then finds the trunk and starts to search through it. She finds a uniform for her grandfather as well as a handgun and bullets. She also finds a box that is tied shut and the mirror. She is then scared when her friend comes up, Grayson Gabriel. Gabriel and Haugh then open the box and Shaye freaks out about it.
We cut to her back in bed and her doctor, Robert Englund, is there. With him is Michael Sirow. They give her a vitamin injection that will help her sleep. After they leave, the two go back up to check out what was inside of the box. They find the rules and items for the Midnight Game. It involves three candles, a pencil, a piece of paper, pictures of people with their fears written on the back and a salt shaker.
They then start to play the game, but the problem is that half of the rules are missing. To start, they knock 22 times on the front door. We see Shaye counting along with her. Next to the door is the sheet with their names, along with those who played in the past and a drop of their blood. Gabriel goes outside after the knocking to let the Midnight Man in.
Gabriel goes back up to the attic to find the rest of the rules while Haugh checks on Shaye. Gabriel finds them to learn that if the candle goes out, you have ten seconds to relight it or the Midnight Man will show you your greatest fear. To protect yourself, you can be inside of a circle of salt. Haugh goes into the bathroom and Shaye blows her candle out. While in there, she is visited and blood is her greatest fear. Gabriel does save her and we see that he tested out the truth of this, by blowing his candle out before coming down.
They are joined by Emily Haine, who seems to know about the game from Creepypasta. She doesn’t believe it is real, but seems to know more about it than the other two. She joins the game as well.
Can these three survive the game and beat the Midnight Man? How long has this been going on? What is wrong with Shaye? Is it dementia or something else?
I’ve seen a couple of trailers for this film and then saw it was playing in my local theater so I gave it a shot as it looked interesting. This film has some concepts I really like. The first is that I love the idea of a creature or monster playing on your greatest fear. It is something that would be crippling, but it also gives the arch that in order to beat it you have to overcome it. The concept of the game is something that I don’t mind. If you believe it, you would never even take the chance, but being a horror film, you just ignore it. Much like when people use an Ouija board. This film does play on one of my fears though with having things behind characters and moving without them noticing. This film does have some issue that bothered me though. The Midnight Man does a lot of talking and I think it hurts the film. I can deal with minimal talking, but there was way too much and it took me out of what was happening. There are also a lot of clinches and just overdone horror film actions that don’t make a lot of sense to just allow for things to happen. I will say the ending has a pretty good twist.
The acting is pretty good for the most part. I have to say that part of the reason I came to see this was for Shaye and Englund. Shaye was really good in this film. She has such a duality of the character that is exhibited by someone with dementia. Englund wasn’t given a lot of screen time and he is just decent in this film. I do believe it is more of the character and what he had to work with though. Haugh was okay, I didn’t see any issues with her. Gabriel did pretty solid. He is such a reserved character. Haine though has to show a lot of fear with what happens to her which I think she did good performance. The children in the film round out with what they needed to do as well.
Now the effects are a combination of CGI and practical. I do think that both looked good. I didn’t really see any issue. I will say that the film is a little too dark. It is hard to see some things. The use of shadows is important, but we would also need to be able to see some of the things as well. The editing of the film needed to be tightened up. The film has a running time around 90 minutes, but there was a lull in the middle that I kind of lost interest. The score really didn’t stand out to me either. It doesn’t hurt the film or help it.
With that said, this film was still pretty enjoyable. There are some good concepts here. The problems do come more from the execution. I really like the idea of the creature and what it does. I don’t mind the game concept and Shaye’s history with it. The monster shouldn’t have talked nearly as much as it did. The acting was pretty good for the most part. The effects I think were solid. The editing could use a little bit of tightening up and the score really doesn’t stand out. I do feel that this film is slightly above average in my opinion. If this sounds interesting, I’d give it a viewing. Don’t come in expecting to be blown away by any stretch or by anything it does. It is a film that is enjoyable.
My Rating: 7 out of 10