Review: Scott Leberecht's Midnight Son, starring Zak Kilberg (Fantasia 2011)

Scott Leberecht's Midnight Son, starring Zak Kilberg (Fantasia 2011)
7 10

PLOT: Jacob (Zak Kilberg) is a twenty-four year old security guard who, due to a skin condition that's left him super-sensitive to sunlight, is forced to work the graveyard shift, and spend his days holed up in his basement apartment waiting for the sun to go down. Around the time he meets Mary (Maya Parish), a sensitive, troubled soul, he begins to get strange cravings for blood, and- to his absolute astonishment, discovers that he may be turning into a vampire.

REVIEW: MIDNIGHT SON is not your quintessential vampire flick, in that it's a micro-budget indie that tries to take a serious, somber look at what it might actually be like to be afflicted with the curse of vampirism. It's not unlike the superb Korean film, THIRST, which took a similar perspective, although this lacks the gallows humor, and grand-guignol set pieces of that Park-Chan Wook film.

It's mostly concerned with two things- one being Jacob's increasing blood thirst, which is partially fed by a helpful, if sinister employee of the hospital blood bank. The other part of the film, no less important than the vampire aspect, is Jacob's growing love affair with Mary. Of the two stories, oddly enough I found the romance more intriguing- thanks in part to the chemistry and talents of the two leads, Zak Kilberg and Maya Parish.

These experimental indies live and die by their casts, and thankfully, Scott Leberecht has assembled a good one. Kilberg is a sympathetic protagonist, and his initial disbelief at his metamorphosis is well done with him even watching FRIGHT NIGHT for vampire hints at one point. I also liked his relationship with the great Tracey Walter, who plays the janitor who works alongside Jacob, and is around to offer some sage advice, with his theory being that as adults, we don't stop growing until 25, explaining Jacob's gradual change.

As his blood-bank hookup, Jo D. Jonz is about as good as Kilberg and Parish, although I found his character arc to be the most predicable thing about the film. Also noteworthy is Arlen Escarpeta (who was really good in the recent indie BROTHERHOOD) as Jonz's timid brother, gun-toting brother.

Overall, MIDNIGHT SON was a pretty good indie take on the age-old vampire tale, and well-worth checking out if it pops up on Netflix, or something similar sometime soon. While I wasn't quite as drawn into it as some other Fantasia selections (although my growing vampire fatigue might have something to do with that), it was still an entertaining, worthwhile watch.




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