FILM REVIEW: THE MIDNIGHT MAN
Director: Travis Zariwny
Writers: Rob Kennedy, Travis Zariwny
Starring: Summer H. Howell, Gabrielle Haugh, Lin Shaye, Robert Englund, Kyle Strauts, Grayson Gabriel, Michael Sirow, Emily Haine
Release Date: January 19, 2018
The Midnight Man stars horror legends Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Lin Shaye (Insidious) in this remake of the 2013 Irish horror movie Midnight Man and presumed inspired by The Midnight Game, the 2013 film adapted from the creepypasta of the same name. Our legendary icon’s portrayals are not at their best, however it’s not the acting that disengages the audience, but rather writer and director Travis Zariwny’s bland script. Zariwny successfully creates a few moments of tension throughout but the missed opportunities are too many.
In the well-maintained attic fully furnished with a curious male mannequin and a gun with three bullets, a sealed box containing the pieces needed to play The Midnight Game, is discovered. The cursed pagan game awaits innocent curiosity to thus bring forth a demonic spirit, The Midnight Man—an evil so smart, its strength lies in its savvy to trick players to their demise.
Follow the rules and you will be safe, don’t and you will die! Only problem with the ‘rules’ of this game is that time and time again we observe, the Midnight Man does not like to follow rules as he “does not like to lose.”
Decades before in the very mansion Alexandra (Gabrielle Haugh) now resides as caretaker to her declining grandmother Ana (Lin Shaye), The Midnight Game was played with dire consequence. Once again the box is finally opened by Alex and her friend Miles (Grayson Gabriel), who will wager everything for a few hours of trying to stay alive. Although one can’t help but wonder “why on earth would anyone would want to play this ‘game’?”
Suspend your disbelief as we may for even the best of horror films, but unfortunately The Midnight Man still falls short on scares. Contributed to bland CGI, the monster’s lackluster appeal mixed with its obvious Halloween store allure, and The Midnight Man is a bore. The fact that the imminently endangered teens have full sentence conversations with the raspy voiced Midnight Man himself takes away from the suspense at once.
Quite possibly the most absurd aspect of the film happens when in the midst of fighting off The Midnight Man, Alex and Miles find themselves answering a knock on the door by a third friend, Kelly (Emily Haine) who we discover is well versed on the Urban Legend and therefore remains in the house to help her friends. “You can get out now,” Alexandra tells Kelly. “I wouldn’t desert my friends,” she replies. (She probably should have heeded the warning if you catch my drift.)
The Midnight Man is a glossy, commercial looking film that will keep viewers tuned in from start to finish. As a background movie or out of desperation, the film will suffice. The biggest crime though that The Midnight Man has commited is that you will likely not remember much of it after a short time.