Film Review: After Midnight (dir by Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella)

A man named Hank (Jeremy Gardner), who owns a pretty nice house out in the country, is holding a shotgun.  He’s just shot a hole through his front door.  Later, when the sun rises, he’ll walk around his land, carrying his gun and searching for anything that shouldn’t be there.  When an unfamiliar car drives down the road, he fires at it.

Hank has a few reasons for being paranoid.  He’s convinced that there’s something out there.  For the past two weeks, Hank claims that there’s been a monster scratching at the front door.  His friends tell him that it’s probably just a bear but Hank swears that it’s not.  It’s too big and strong and strange to be a bear.  It’s a monster, Hank swears.

Most of his friends assume that Hank is losing it.  It probably doesn’t help that Hank started talking about this monster around the same time that his girlfriend Abby (Brea Grant), left him.  Hanks claims that he has no idea why Abby left.  He assumes that she’s down in Florida with an old boyfriend but he doesn’t know for sure.  Whenever anyone suggests that he might want to think about why he and Abby are having problems, Hank steers the conversation back to the monster that he claims is trying to break into the house.

Hank spends his nights waiting for the monster and thinking about Abby.  We see flashbacks to his relationship with Abby and what we immediately notice is that they always seem to be happy.  In Hank’s memories, we never see them fighting or any hints that there was ever any trouble in their relationship.  Yet, no one seems to be surprised that Abby left Hank so, obviously, it was clear to everyone else that Abby wasn’t happy.  Are we seeing real memories of Hank and Abby or are we just seeing things the way that Hank has chosen to remember them?

After Midnight is a hybrid of a horror movie and a relationship drama.  It’s definitely not a film for everyone.  It moves at its own deliberate pace.  Some of the dialogue is a bit overwritten and I’m still not really sure how Hank managed to get away with firing a shotgun at a moving car.  (The film explains that he’s got a relative on the police force but it still seems like a bit of a stretch.)  There’s a very lengthy scene that is just made up of a largely static shot of Abby and Hank talking about their relationship.  It’s one of those scene that you’re either going to love or you’re going to hate.  Myself, I liked the fact that the film was just as concerned with Abby and Hank as a couple as it was with whatever was hiding in the darkness.  It helped that Gardner and Grant were a likable and believable couple.  That said, if you’re only watching this film for the horror elements, you’ll probably get annoyed.

However, After Midnight also features what is perhaps one of the greatest jump scares that I’ve ever seen.  It occurs towards the end of the film so yes, it does demand a little bit of patience on your part.  But that patience will be rewarded!  Seriously, I’m not going to spoil it but I will say that I literally fell off my couch in shock when it happened.  It was a perfectly executed moment and one that entirely justified that patience required to reach it.

After Midnight is on Prime.  It’s not for everyone but I liked it.

One response to “Film Review: After Midnight (dir by Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 7/20/20 — 7/26/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

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