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September 22, 2014

The Midnight Game (2013) Movie Review

Sorry it’s been a few weeks since I last posted. It’s busy season for my hubby’s business and helping out takes priority over shredding shitty movies. I mean, contemplate and ponder thoughtful movie reviews for the wonderful films my overlords at CHC deem worthy of my inspired mind.

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Anyway, as I’m in a few day break before more madness ensues, I thought I’d pop in one of above mentioned films. Keep in mind, though, that I’m battling a cold so I might be a bit more heavy handed on the snark for this one.

Inspired by true events (oh, for fuck’s sake), The Midnight Game involves a handful of high school students having a little get together at Kaitlin’s house while her mother is away on business. Her friends, Jenna and Rose, invite over some boys (OMG Mom said no boiz!) Shane and Jeff.

Shane, being the QB, insists they play The Midnight Game. It’s a pagan ritual (duh) that was designed to ‘help you follow the rules’. They have to confess their fears, write their names on some paper with a drop of their blood, then each light a candle. If a candle goes out before the allotted deadline at 3:33am (I honestly drifted a bit during the exposition here so I don’t know why that’s the chosen time) and is not relit in ten seconds, the Midnight Man will come to punish you. Come on, let’s play! What could go wrong? We’re teenagers and we’re invincible!

Oh, you crazy kids with your wacky tobacky and your slumber parties and your satanic rituals.

Of course they didn’t REALLY take the whole thing seriously so the shit starts to hit the fan two hours before deadline. Noises, shadows, house shaking, moving furniture, lights don’t work, not to mention everyone’s candles keep going out. In order to protect themselves, they need to create a ring of salt and stay inside it. It’ll protect them from whatever the fuck the Midnight Man is. After creating the most pathetic salt circle EVAR (Sam and Dean would be soooo disappointed) they survive. Hooray!

Psych! Just kidding. It’s ain’t over by a long shot.

I was much more entertained than I originally thought I’d be. Don’t get me wrong. There was lots of crap in this. The whole ‘inspired by true events’ irks me. It’s a bunch of high schoolers (hooray, another teen slasher film) makes me want to yawn. And then the game/ritual is such a been-there-done-that trope it’s almost laughable. The characters themselves are so cliche: good girl Kaitlin, slutty Jenna, goth Rose, QB Shane and his football bff, Jeff. 

Dude, the bathroom is right next to you! Stop crapping in my hallway!

And even before they all confess their fears, it’s pretty obvious how this movie will play out. Like I said, we’re not in new territory here. Their fates couldn’t have been predicted  better if the writers printed out a pamphlet for the viewer to follow along with as the movie progressed.

All that said, however, it didn’t turn out to be a teen slasher. There was hardly any blood at all. This was more about building atmosphere and genuine scares. After watching lots of films that are directed by people who don’t know the definition of ambient, THIS flick gets it right. I was never distracted by the background noise or the sudden dropping of sound. There was also none of that jump scare shit, no gratuitous nudity, and I don’t think there was any over the top cussing either. It is rated R though so there’s at least one f-bomb.

When bacne gets out of control.

The acting is better than I anticipated as well. Shelby Young, as Rose, completely drew me in. Guy Wilson, as Shane, was a good leader and charming enough to manipulate the rest into playing the damn game in the first place, even though you see how scared he is when he first learns about it. Kaitlin and Jeff are more wallpapery and Jenna is just annoying. The actress portraying her almost seems like she’s trying too hard to make Jenna appear crazy at the end.

I won’t tell you the ending but there was a twist in a twist kinda thing going on, though part of the wrap up is lame (all you had to do was look across the street, duh). But I love the idea of what’s really happening. For me, there could be no worse fate. I honestly got goosebumps.

And in the last scene we get to see a few minutes of Robert Romanus (Mike Damone from Fast Times at Ridgemont High). Nice.

As I wrote this review I realized I enjoyed this film more than I realized. I also couldn’t shake some of the imagery from my head when I went to bed after watching it. That’s a sign of a rather decent scary movie.

3 Hatchets (out of 5)

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