Starring – Zak Kilberg, Maya Parish, Jo D. Jonz and Tracey Walter
Written and Directed by Scott Leberecht
Last October heading into the Toronto After Dark Film Festival I remember looking at the lineup and seeing the title Midnight Son slotted into the last slot on Sunday of the fest. Not knowing much about this film I watched the trailer online and was not blown away, in fact it was a little underwhelming. Despite this I decided to take a chance on the film based on the programmer’s recommendations and the film did not disappoint. Mongrel Media’s recent release of the film on DVD allows me to happily revisit what was my most pleasant surprise of TAD 2011.
Jacob (Kilberg) is not your typical 24 year old male. Working as a night security officer in an office building, Jacob has become a creature of the night not out of habit but out of necessity. As a child he was found to have a mysterious skin disease that caused his arm to literally burn in the sunlight and has been unable to walk in direct sunlight since. Jacob has recently developed a ravenous insatiable appetite that is not curbed no matter how much he eats until he drinks some blood leftover from a piece of steak. Out at a bar one night Jacob meets Mary (Parish) outside selling cigarettes and candy. The two oddballs hit it off right away and start into an awkward relationship. One night during a date Mary develops a nose bleed that ends up giving Jacob his first taste of human blood, after which the animal blood he has been drinking fails to satiate his appetite any longer. Trying to acquire blood leads Jacob to Marcus (Jonz), a hospital employee who becomes Jacob’s blood dealer, who has many inventive ways of getting said blood. Eventually Jacob comes to learn that his actions have consequences he has to deal with as his off and on relationships with both Mary and Marcus take drastic turns that lead to the ultimate decision that occurs in the final moments of the film.
Midnight Son is not your typical bombastic gore-fest. It is deliberately a slow build that develops over time, getting increasingly dangerous and violent along the way. Director Leberecht’s script is strong, giving us one of the most awkward and unconventional love stories at its center that I’ve seen in quite a while. Kilberg and Parish are both very strong here, keeping the characters relatable and sympathetic throughout. Kilberg’s Jacob is one of the most original and unique “vampires” in screen history. Playing strongest in the quieter moments, Kilberg fleshes out Jacob’s character with intricacies and nervous ticks that help create a more enriched performance. Parish imbues her character with a frenetic energy that perfectly counterpoints Jacob’s stoicism. Jonz delivers an edgier performance, his character representing the grittiness of the real world seeping into Jacob’s solitude. Director Leberecht stages the film well, with the background of Los Angeles looming, finding little crevices to fill the film, like Jacob’s basement apartment at “43 ½ State Street”. The story is shot well, depending more on practical methods for its effects than computer-generated, and delivers a look that feels more polished than its means.
The DVD itself is sadly just a bare bones edition which includes just the film and some upcoming Mongrel release previews. Having met Leberecht, Kilberg and producer Matt Compton last year at TAD, I was really looking forward to a possible commentary track as the three men could really deliver a funny and engaging one, but alas we do not get that here. However the film itself is well worth the cost of the DVD purchase alone as the transfer to DVD looks beautiful. Keep your eyes fixed here on Entertainment Maven as I will have an interview with the creative forces behind Midnight Son coming soon.
Currently available at most retailers for less than $15 dollars (a great deal), Midnight Son is a definite recommend.
Till Next Time,
Movie Junkie TO
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