Before I begin this review, I must confess; I have never seen a Midnight Movie. I was born in an age where such a thing that was once popular has since become something less. This saddens me. Perhaps one day, Midnight Movies will be revived. But for now, most of the popular "Midnight Releases" are out on home video; so we can enjoy them in the comfort of our homes. This is how I watched this film, "Midnight Movie", which should feel like the kind of flick that its story is mostly about. Sadly, it's nothing more than a potboiler for its genre, and it's worth missing unless you're the most devoted horror fan. And even then, you still might not like it. Effort was put into it by its filmmaker, the for-now-independent Jack Messitt, but apparently, he didn't care much for his screenplay, and instead focused on the meat and the clichés.
"Midnight Movie" takes place mostly in a movie theater, although it begins in a mental hospital. There, a barking-mad patient, Ted Radford, is locked up; although the doctors decide to view a film he made with him. They leave him alone in the room before beginning, and when one of them leaves, he is gone, and so is everyone else; blood everywhere.
Then, we get to the theater. People start coming in late at night for a showing of a film called "The Dark Beneath", which is (surprise, surprise) directed by Ted Radford. Some interesting faces (laughs) amongst the audience members include the tough guy (a biker, and his tough-girl wife) a geek (who constantly jumps whenever a generic "jump-scene" ensues) and a douche (a...presumably Mexican guy...with a scar). Then, there are the nicer people; who, if you're wondering, die all-the same; whether they're particularly nasty or not. None of the characters are likable, so when Ted Radford starts to kill them off one-by-one though a curse, which allows him to come straight out of the film and get some striking new gory material, we don't really give a damn.
Yes, as I mentioned, this is an independently made horror film. There are a lot of those; and some of them are very good. There will always be those out there who believe that they can serve up some tasty morsels with their very own horror flick; but can they truly bring up anything new? "Midnight Movie" offers up little surprises, and frankly, it's rather boring. It sacrifices narrative and a sense of humor for overtones of seriousness, which is kind of funny, because it was only at the half-way point that I realized I was supposed to be taking this thing seriously instead of laughing at it, but I continued to do so anyways. The thing was that lame.
There's plenty of blood and gore for the gorehounds, I'll say that much. Messitt does a pretty good job there, but not much in other places. The jokes he writes in his screenplay aren't funny; and his directing is overall stronger than anything he wrote for this thing. He might make a fine career and learn from his mistakes, or he can go on and become another lost talent; who can't quite make up his mind, just as he can't quite make a movie work.
I suppose this could have been fun, but it's not. "Midnight Movie" is not as fun as going to a good midnight movie, and not as scary as better, more ambitious horror films either. I like atmospheric horror films over ones that present us with loads of gore, and it's more of the same here; the violence is not saying anything, and there's not enough skill or style to make it entertaining. It's watchable and decently acted, but come on. Freakin' "Birdemic" was more fun than this.