Midnight Son Review

Film Still
  • Midnight Son film still


In this indie drama of artistry and undead angst, Scott Leberecht gives old tropes new fangs.

The contrasting themes of addiction and abstinence abound in Scott Leberecht's indie Midnight Son, which gives the tropes of the undead a moodily modern revamp. Crippled by an extreme form of photosensitivity that makes his skin burn on contact with the sun's rays, anaemic loner Jacob (Zak Kilberg) is condemned to spending daylight hours buried away in his bunker-like LA basement apartment, obsessively painting the sunsets that he can no longer watch with his own eyes.

One night, this isolated artist meets lost soul Mary (Maya Parish) outside a club, and seems to have found a kindred spirit – but as she battles her dependency on cocaine, he struggles to find a safe way to feed his emergent cravings for blood, and is soon turning to Marcus (Jo D Jonz), a venal hospital worker, for a semi-regular supply. When a policeman (Larry Cedar) comes along, asking questions about the bizarre murder of a woman from the office building where Jacob works as a night guard, the confused Jacob must decide whether to give himself up, or give in to his newfound passion...

Shot in cool nocturnal blues and greys to a subdued soundtrack (by Kays Al-Atrakchi), Midnight Son immediately sets itself apart from other recent vampire flicks (with the possible exception of Let The Right One In) by eschewing the camp elements so often associated with the genre. The first half of the film recalls the psychological realism of Martin (1977) or Vampire's Kiss (1988), as we are made to share Jacob's own uncertainty as to whether he is just a sensitive outsider with physical and mental problems or a genuine bloodsucker – which means that when, in the second half, the question of Jacob's status has been unequivocally resolved, his character has been sufficiently well established that the film can remain a credible drama in which moral choices are taken seriously.

Midnight Son ends as it begins, with sunset reds painted on a wall – but the distance traveled in between makes this a resonant tale of alienation, exploitation, eros, appetite and, ultimately, acceptance. "Everyone", as Marcus put it, "got their thing" – and as Jacob and Mary learn to embrace theirs, we are all invited to join them (and this film) on the midnight margins.

comments powered by Disqus