Midnight Movie (2008)

Rating: B-

Dir: Jack Messitt
Star: Rebekah Brandes, Daniel Bonjour, Justin Baric, Mandell Maughan

Five years ago, horror-movie director Ted Radford was being held in an insane asylum. As part of his therapy, he was shown his slasher-film The Dark Beneath; the next thing anyone knows, he and a lot of the other inmates had vanished, leaving behind a blood-bath. Now, the movie is being shown in public for the first time, at a rundown theater managed by Bridget (Brandes). A motley crew of students, bikers, cops and Bridget’s kid brother are there for the screening, only to find the film and its killer, bleeding over into the cinema, and the audience becoming participants rather than just spectators.

With all exits apparently sealed – they seem to have slipped off the face of the planet entirely – can the dwindling number of survivors figure out how to stop Radford from making them part of his body-count? It’s a film that’s not concerned with ‘why’ this is happening, offering no explanation of why Radford is able to move effortlessly between celluloid and reality. Nor is it really concerned with confounding expectations; you should be able to tell within five minutes who the ‘final girl’ will be, and predict ‘Survival or Not?’ for everyone with a fair degree of accuracy.

That said, neither of these things affect the entertainment level too badly, and the movie has an internal logic – or perhaps, more a lack of logic – that’s quite effective in a nightmarish way. Though it’s kinda weird how the kid’s “happy place” involves listing the players on the 2003 Chicago Cubs; their post-season that year was more horrific than most of the killings here. Maybe he’s a Florida Marlins fan? Anyway, while not exactly deep, this has few pretensions in that area, and as popcorn horror [in both senses], it does exactly what it says on the tin.