Powered by Blogger.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Review: Midnight Kiss

Director: Carter Smith
Screenplay: Erlingur Thoroddsen
Year: 2019

Into the Dark” has gained plenty of attention recently after their “Pilgrim” and “A Nasty Piece of Work” episodes of the Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. Although far from the level of these two episodes, “Midnight Kiss” continues the path of good episodes that keeps this anthology on the radar of horror fans. As part of the “Into the Dark” series, a collaborative project between Hulu and Blumhouse Television, the New Year’s themed movie/episode is centered around the celebrations, as well as around gay culture in the shape of a slasher.

A group of gay best friends has as a custom to reunite for celebrating the New Year. As part of the celebration the participate in the Midnight Kiss game, in which during the New Year’s Eve party they must find a partner to kiss when midnight comes. This time, the group is stalked by a killer that wants to play his own game slowly disposing of them.

Not very often do we see that a movie in the horror genre takes gay culture as its focus and do it in a serious way. “Into the Dark” gives the opportunity to have a horror movie following the slasher formula but based on gay culture without being a parody. The result shows that there is plenty of space for inclusion inside the horror genre, as had already been shown with “Ma”, another Blumhouse production in which skin color has nothing to do with what happens in the movie and that is paid homage on “Midnight Kiss” by using the popular phrase don’t make me drink alone.

“Midnight Kiss” moves like a classic slasher, where a killer starts killing one by one the members of the group of gay friends for some unknown reason. However, the director Carter Smith (“The Ruins”) and screenwriter Erlingur Thoroddsen (“Child Eater”) lose the opportunity to generate suspense around their plot as if you pay attention, the killer is revealed on an early scene. The rest of the movie, knowing who the killer is, loses a lot of suspense and the only thing left is to wait for the moment where out suspicion is confirmed and reveal the motive of its actions.

The revelation about the killer’s motives are influenced by the struggles lived in the gay world, where the social and family pressures can negatively affect the psychology of an individual. Similarly, the appearance that the killer assumes to hide his identity is based on BDSM culture, which reminds of the cenobites in “Hellraiser” also based on this sexual preference. Although historically slashers have overused nudity and sexuality, “Midnight Kiss” abuse of both, often unnecessary for the plot and which explicitness is not emulated in the gore and violent scenes. 

Besides the poor work in keeping the killer hidden until the end, the character development isn’t the best. Some of the characters look like walking stereotypes and are only added to serve as comedic relief, are overacted and end up not achieving that the viewer cares when they are disposed of. The main cast, composed of Scott Evans (“Southbound”), Adam Faison (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), and Lukas Gage (“Assassination Nation”), is able to outweigh this problem with much more credible characters, less stereotypical and better acted. Of course, having a character named Dante gives them some bonus points. 

“Midnight Kiss” is a classical slasher that proposes an overused formula viewed from a different perspective. Like any good slasher, it goes over the top with the nudity and sex, but it feels tame in the gore and lacks suspense, ruined by the early unintentional revelation of the killer. Even when it doesn't reach the level of the previous two episodes, with its intention of creating a different product, “Into the Dark” keeps giving something to talk about.

No comments:

Post a Comment