DVD Review: Midnight Son
Review by Annie Riordan
I gotta be honest: I am sick to fucking death of vampire films. There was a time when the vampire film was my absolute favorite sub-genre of horror. But that was back in Ye Olde Days when men were men, women were women and vampires were butt-ugly parasitic ghouls who did not sparkle, were not pretty and did not dress like extras in a Cradle Of Filth video. Salem’s Lot, Nosferatu, Subspecies…now THOSE were vampires: disgusting, unrepentant, disease-ridden. Fuck Twilight. AND Anita Blake. Shit, fuck Lestat too. I don’t want pretty, poetry spouting underwear models with fangs, and I sure as shit don’t want the epitome of plague characterized as the ultimate in romance.
When I first saw the cover box for Midnight Son, I cringed, certain I was in for a Twilight-inspired teen soap opera sex-a-thon, where becoming a vampire is like winning the lottery, bestowing grace, beauty and full wardrobes from Hot Topic to the lucky immortal chosen few.
I was wrong.
Jacob Gray isn’t going to be modeling for any romance novel covers anytime soon. As guys go, he’s pretty normal: he’s got a nice indie vibe going on with his floppy hair, pasty pallor and button down shirts. He has very pretty eyes. But he’s nothing special…at first glance, anyway. Eking out a meager existence as a night shift security guard in the heart of inner city L.A., Jacob is utterly alone and seems content to stay that way. However, a sudden surge of insatiable hunger – a hunger which cannot be satisfied despite the massive amounts of food Jacob inhales during a single sitting – drives him to the doctor. The diagnosis: malnutrition with a possible side serving of anemia, an explanation which makes no sense to either the doctor or Jacob. Frustrated, Jacob shrugs it off and returns to his existence as a nocturnal garbage disposal…until the night he decides to taste the puddle of blood left behind by a big fat steak.
Blood seems to be the answer, and the corner butcher shop has plenty to spare. Downing cow blood by the cupful is the only thing that quiets the unholy rumbling in Jacob’s belly. Feeling much improved, life is looking up for Jacob and he even meets a pretty girl hawking smokes and candy outside of a techno joint late one night. Granted, Mary is probably not the best girl to get involved with: she’s got issues for damn sure, not the least of which is a hefty coke habit. But she’s pretty, and willing and all but rapes Jacob on his couch during their first date. Score!
But Mary’s rotting sinus tissues pick that moment to disintegrate. Her nose ruptures, Jacob gets his first taste of living blood, and shit gets really real really quickly. Soon, he’s as much of a junkie as Mary, scoring fresh blood from a corrupt hospital med tech and watching himself evolve into a full blown fiend, incapable of controlling his own violent impulses. He can’t help it, doesn’t like it and doesn’t know how to stop it. And when he realizes, too late, that he is capable of infecting others with his affliction, any control he once had over the situation is ripped away and gone forever.
Midnight Son is apocalyptically gorgeous: bleak, nihilistic, hopeless and irreversibly damaged. Jacob may not be a verminous creature, but neither is he a stately courtesan. He’s tragically normal and painfully human, and never more so than when he realizes that he isn’t. No slouch either is Maya Parish, who I mistook for Sarah Wayne Callies at first, second and third glance. She’s smoking hot and has cute underwear, but she also looks like she hasn’t slept in 30 years and never washes off the last application of eyeliner before applying the next. She’s haggard and grungy and I bet she smells like menthols and slightly skunky perfume. In other words, she nails it.
Oh, and Larry Cedar is in this movie! Do you guys even know how happy that makes me? I love Larry Cedar! What the fuck do you mean “Who the hell is Larry Cedar?” You people sicken me. Got to get these muthafuckin’ men off the wing of this muthafuckin’ plane.
But back to the movie itself. It’s familiar, almost classic in its story, but still unlike any other vampire movie you’ve ever seen. And you need to see this one, if you haven’t already. Period, end of story.