After Midnight is one of those films that will have very mixed reviews depending upon the viewer. It’s a film that delivers an equal dose of comedy and drama, with a dash of horror to satisfy those looking for a scare.
Before I dive into what worked for me and what I struggled with, I’ll share the synopsis. After Midnight follows the story of Hank (Jeremy Gardner) and Abby (Brea Grant). The film begins with a brief introduction to their storybook romance, which is shown in flashbacks. We then see that Hank is alone and left with questions, as Abby departed their home with only a vague note left behind.
Hank’s life is now nearly in shambles in her absence. To complicate the matter more, ever since Abby left, a dangerous creature appeared in her wake. Hank spends his nights waiting for the creature’s arrival and attempts to protect his home. His days are spent at the bar he owns, where he commiserates with his friends.
After Midnight is centered on the relationship between Hank and Abby. We learn the foundation of their partnership through flashback scenes placed throughout the film. At the start, I expected a portrayal of an unrealistically perfect relationship. You know—the kind we only see on film or portrayed on social media.
However, I was proven wrong. We’re given a glimpse of the struggles amid the happy flashbacks. The scenes between Hank and Abby are well done, and I especially enjoyed the serious conversation that takes place later in the film. Ultimately the portrayal of the relationship was realistic and relatable, and this aids in developing empathy for the characters.
Don’t go into this one expecting a steady stream of scares, but know that the limited moments of horror are worth the wait. Jump scares are often overused in horror films, but when they are done right, it’s a thing of beauty. There were a couple of great moments involving the creature that stand out in my mind’s highlight reel.
I struggled with a few aspects of this film. One of which was that it took a bit to get going. As mentioned, I wasn’t sure about it at the beginning. I thought it might be a bust for me initially, but those first scenes where Hank is with his friends pulled me in.
I was expecting more suspense and thrill, but it was ultimately a relationship drama with spattering of horror here and there. Despite some of the more intimate scenes that I enjoyed, I found myself more invested in the secondary characters than the two leads. This had nothing to do with the acting, as everyone in the cast delivered a solid performance. For me, the friends and family of Hank and Abby displayed more charisma and humor. This is what held my interest throughout the film, along with curiosity over the mysterious creature.
I went into this film unfamiliar with the previous work of director/actor Jeremy Gardner. I suspect that fans of his other films will enjoy After Midnight as they have more insight into what to expect.
Reviews, of course, are subjective reports of a film’s rating. Viewers will ultimately decide for themselves if a film is enjoyable. This one gets a middle-of-the-road rating from me. However,
I expect to see ratings on both ends of the spectrum once I read others’ reviews. If you’re into comedic horror with a close-up on relationship drama, I recommend adding this one to your watch list.
WICKED RATING: 5/10