A confident but minor addition to the vampire-addict horror subgenre
Since directing breakout hit The Blair Witch Project, Eduardo Sanchez has continued milking the low-budget horror market, executive producing this low-key tale of LA vampires for debutant writer/director Scott Leberecht. As Leberecht’s visual effects background might suggest, Midnight Son is a handsomely photographed drama bringing a welcome ‘indie’ sensibility to issues of immortality previously covered in the glossier Twilight films.
As gifted painter with an allergy to sunlight, Jacob (Zak Kilberg) ekes out a miserable living as a security guard until he meets Mary (Maya Parish), a cocaine-abusing bartender who recognizes his artistic talent. Mary arranges an exhibition of Jacob’s work at a local gallery, little realizing that beneath his pretty-boy appearance, blood-thirsty impulses are stirring. Soon Jacob’s late-night forays to butchers and hospital blood-banks leave a trail of victims in his wake, and when Mary is mortally injured, Jacob can only think of one way to keep her alive…
Midnight Son belongs firmly to the ‘vampire as addict’ sub-genre that includes George A Romero’s Martin and Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction; vampirism as a metaphor for drug abuse, and Leberecht treats the material with deliberate seriousness, right down to a darkly sinister suggestion that Jacob was born with his affliction, like a child with AIDS. Kilberg and Parish look appropriately strung out, and the methods by which victims are drained of blood so that the vampires can quaff their blood from pitchers are suitably gruesome.
Not concerned with creating ghost-train shocks (most of the killings are mercifully kept off-camera), Leberecht aims instead for a more highbrow study of urban alienation; it might not be offering anything new to the lore of the horror film, but Midnight Son is a confident, minor work that hardcore admirers of the True Blood/Twilight cycle will want to seek out.