Review: Midnight Son

by Christopher Misch



No sappy high school romances; no shirtless Taylor Lautner; and definitely no sparkles are to be found in this refreshing, made-for-adults modern day vampire tale. Zak Kilberg stars as Jacob, a young man with a rare skin disorder making him extremely sensitive to sunlight. As a result he works evening shifts as a security guard, not by choice, but because it’s a line of work that prevents him from coming in contact with sunlight. During daytime hours he dwells in isolation within the confines of his small basement apartment, where he paints artwork to pass the time. His sad and lonely existence is suddenly thrown a curveball when he falls for Mary (played by Maya Parish), a cocaine-addicted waitress who enjoys Jacob’s company and soon becomes intrigued by his artwork. Unable to restrain his emotions Jacob’s thirst for blood heightens, forcing him to experiment and find new sources to appease his growing hunger. However, when a series of gruesome murders take place near his workplace, a local detective begins to hone in on Jacob as one of the prime suspects in the case.

This is an economically crafted vampire film that is aware of its limitations and uses these limitations to its advantage. It relies on an intriguing premise and the raw performances of its actors to carry it all the way to its gruesome conclusion. There is not a single note of excess or Hollywood here, which separates the film from a long list of generic supernatural thrillers, from the Twilight franchise to new releases including I Am Number Four and Beastly. The film’s economic limitations are noticeable, but those moments are only temporary and soon fade.

Midnight Son is vivid in its ability to draw parallels between a vampire’s thirst for blood and a drug addict’s dependance on an illicit substance. In one scene, Mary is in a washroom sniffing a line of cocaine to feed her own addiction, while in another Jacob is scrambling for the remaining drops of blood from a used medical container. Both Mary’s and Jacob’s addictions converge when Mary’s cocaine-induced nosebleed smears all over Jacob’s face, challenging him to grapple with his temptations.

The film’s continuous parallel between an addict and a vampire only continues, as in Jacob’s desperation he turns to arguably the shadiest nurse in the history of the medical profession, who sells him pints out blood out of a hospital back alley and when his supply runs out, he finds extreme measures to satisfy Jacob’s thirst.

Unless you are a fourteen year old girl with a deep-seeded passion for Robert Pattinson, there is a good chance you’ll likely cringe or roll your eyes at the very mention of another vampire movie. However, Midnight Son is evidence that even in a overdone, generic sub-genre, there’s still room for originality if the material is handled correctly and if the filmmaker’s vision is not imposed upon by production studio executives more concerned with balancing their books than the quality of their film.

67/100 - A refreshing, made-for-adults modern day vampire tale.

Christopher Misch

I've always loved movies, but it wasn't until under the tutelage of Professor Garry Leonard at the University of Toronto that my passion for the industry became an understanding of an art form. With a specific fascination in both the western genre and Asian cinema in general, I am of the view that good movies are either enlightening or entertaining, and if you are truly lucky they are both.
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