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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Review: Ten Minutes To Midnight

Director: Erik Bloomquist 

Screenplay: Erik Bloomquist and Carson Bloomquist 

Year: 2021

Amy Marlowe is a successful radio host who is approaching retirement after a 30 years career. While she was on her way to the radio station for her last show, she got bitten by a bat. The rest of the night turns into a fever dream for Amy as she feels the effect of some disease transmitted by the bat, like rabies or vampirism. All of the rage Amy had contained suddenly finds an escape valve through the bat bite that takes her to a breakdown that is only the beginning of her problems. 

“Ten Minutes To Midnight” is the sort of polarizing movie that you either love or hate. With a short runtime of 73 minutes, it quickly throws you into the meat of the plot. The problem is that much of the plot makes no sense and resembles a fever dream that would make David Lynch proud.

Erik and Carson Bloomquist’s (“Long Lost”) script focuses on Amy and the introspection of her life’s accomplishments while she approaches a retirement she is not ready to face. At the same time, it puts attention to the age discrimination the host feels as she watches a younger woman ready to take her place. This philosophical and reflective approach makes the intensity and tension come from the atmosphere and the protagonist’s reactions, and that horror takes a secondary role.

The attention put in the protagonist works exceptionally well thanks to the magnificent performance of Caroline Williams (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2”), who curiously interprets a character with the same profession as the one that made her famous. Williams manages to humanize the character and her situation in a way that leaves us with no other choice than to care about her and her outcome, even when we are not sure of what’s going on. A scene in which we can see her emotions in a close-up shot of her eyes and another uncomfortable one in a bathroom is a testament to her versatility as an actress and Erik  Bloomquist’s talent for directing.

Although horror takes a secondary role, what is shown is convincing. The special effects and makeup look great and give some surprising and grotesque moments that help us remember that this is a horror movie. The special effects are combined with good use of the cameras, great use of lighting for creating atmosphere, and an interesting soundtrack that gives it a retro style reminiscent of the ‘70s and ‘80s horror cinema.

The nonsense and constant confusion of “Ten Minutes To Midnight” make it be one of those movies you either love or hate. Caroline Williams’ outstanding performance and the engaging retro style counters the confusing script and the fact that it offers a lot less horror than what it promises. The plot development can only be compared to a fever dream that made me remember David Lynch’s distinctive style, which is not everyone’s cup of tea.

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