Midnight Son Scott Leberecht

Midnight Son Scott Leberecht
A low budget film doesn't have to look cheap, nor does a quiet character drama have to be boring. Unfortunately, writer/director Scott Leberecht makes both mistakes in his first full-length feature. Whether or not the grainy film stock is an ode to the '70s or a necessity of financing, the cinematography is sloppy, with the framing of most shots looking hastily considered, at best. It's still a competent enough sequence of moving images though, so if the story was as profound as it thinks it is, and took the study of its central character more seriously, Midnight Son could have been a salvageable experience. This is a vampire film taking a different approach to the subject than audiences are accustomed to. Jacob (a proficient Zak Kilberg) is a young man rendered an outsider by a rare and severe sun allergy. He copes with his condition sensibly enough, working night shifts as a security guard. He even consults a doctor when he can't seem to satisfy his hunger. The diagnosis: malnourishment, despite the volume and variety of food we witness Jacob consume. With this albatross of oddities to bear, Jacob is hesitant to make new friends, but forges an instant connection with a plucky bartender named Mary (Maya Parish). When their relationship swiftly gets heated, Mary resorts to a little nose candy courage, which results in nasal seepage of the exact sort Jacob didn't know he needed. With that spot of red in his gullet comes an instinctual need for more. At odds with the clinical contextualization of the sun damage aspect of vampire mythology, Jacob's biological need for human blood is treated as a parallel to addiction, with nearly every character echoing "everyone's got their thing" throughout the picture, be it in reference to drugs, money, sex or another means of exerting dominance over the weak-willed. Had the film at least adhered to its logic, it might have been worth recommending to viewers already acquainted with "realistic" vampire classics, such as Romero's Martin and Chan-wook Park's Thirst. As it stands, Midnight Son is neither intelligent enough for the art house crowd, nor viscerally engaging enough for the fang-bangers. No special features exist to shed any light on the filmmaker's intentions. (Mongrel Media)