Mark Reviews Movies



2.5 Stars (out of 4)

Director: Julius Ramsay

Cast: Alex Essoe, Dylan McTee, Perla Haney-Jardine, Ward Horton, Andrew Rothenberg, Joseph Anderson, K.C. Faldasz

MPAA Rating: Not rated

Running Time: 1:34

Release Date: 3/2/18 (limited)

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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik | February 28, 2018

In Midnighters, an unhappily married couple is unintentionally caught up in a criminal conspiracy, forcing them to act in a variety of illegal and immoral ways. At first, their actions are out of a sense of self-preservation. At some point, though, the motives of these characters shift, and as that happens, it becomes more difficult to find any feeling of sympathy for them.

The couple, Jeff (Dylan McTee) and Lindsey (Alex Essoe), has had just a little too much to drink at a New Year's Eve party when Jeff drives them through a forest road to their new, still-being-renovated house. Along the way, Jeff hits a man walking in the middle of the road. Convinced that he'll go to prison, he convinces Lindsey to bring the seemingly dead man back to the house with them, sober up a bit, and then take the body to a local hospital.

Obviously, none of this works out the way Jeff plans, and there is a real sense of near-absurdist escalation to Alston Ramsay's screenplay, as Lindsey's troubled sister Hannah (Perla Haney-Jardine) arrives, the body briefly goes missing, and, suddenly, the couple has a bigger mess in the garage to clean. We can guess where a lot of this will go, as it turns out that the stranger was on his way to the house when Jeff hit him. Ramsay's script, though, throws in enough curveballs to keep us wondering how far these characters will go, what new complications will arise, and who, if anyone, will survive the ordeal.

It becomes increasingly difficult to relate to these characters as self-preservation moves aside for greed. The movie's addition of the presence of Smith (Ward Horton), a smiling and sadistic sociopath who was acquainted with the dead man, helps a bit to keep us on the couple's side, but it's a loaded moral choice. Of course, we won't want to side with a heartless killer, but does that mean we have to side with a pair of people whose actions start to mirror those of the sadist?

There simply isn't much to these characters beyond what they're forced (or "forced") to do by others or by circumstances. Midnighters wants to be a study of the lengths to which fairly decent people will go to survive, but by the end, we're questioning if any of these characters were really decent in the first place.

Copyright 2018 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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