A low budget horror flick from IFC Midnight called The Midnight Man is like the creepy-pasta version of Jumanji. A bunch of kids play a game and the rules are pretty simple: you keep your candle lit. If your candle goes out then you surround yourself in a circle of salt. If you leave the salt circle then the Midnight Man wins. Seems pretty simple right? Well, the kids find out the disturbing way that the Midnight Man doesn’t play fair.
The trailer for the upcoming flick looks slick. You can tell it’s low-budget but it’s done in the classic “less is more” sort of way, where we don’t ever get to see the Midnight Man because he’s not really an anything. He manages to kill his victims by manifesting their fears.
The few glimpses of the ethereal villain that we get are fleeting and brief, which most certainly adds to the appeal of trying to figure out what he is and what he wants. The film most certainly does follow the standard horror movie tropes, but it’s forgivable given the genre restrictions. Nevertheless, the execution is what’s on point here, and the cinematography looks slick and the special effects seem to be used sparingly enough to look convincing. You can see for yourself with the trailer made available courtesy of Kinocheck International.
I’m not entirely sure how a movie like this could end in any way that didn’t result in the main villain winning, otherwise it would seem like a cop out given the premise that the Midnight Man doesn’t like to lose. Scrubby kids getting a one-up on a presumably ancient extra-dimensional poltergeist seems like it would be pretty cheap.
However, the movie seems to leave viewers intrigued enough with the possibility that perhaps the kids can work through the rules and make it through the night. Having A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Robert Englund nab a role in the flick helps add a bit of gravitas to the seemingly unknown cast of Hollywood lightweights, but I think it’s the visual tone of the film that seems to be the real star.
In fact, the film looks and plays out pretty much how Sony Picture’s The Slender Man should have been. Instead, the film based on a game that was based on a creepy-pasta seems to be an incoherent mishmash of nonsense. A lot of people in the comment section are already making comparisons and noting that The Midnight Man’s trailer definitely depicts it as the superior film. Whether or not it turns out to be superior is a whole different story, but at least the trailer was entertaining.