Written by Davi Crimmins, Greg Garrison, Torey Haas, Jay Holloway, Anissa Matlock, Melissa Oulton-Haas,Tony Reames
Stars: Erin Brown, Hannah Fierman, Ronny Mathew, Davi Crimmins, Avri Bartolozzi, Joesph Lavender, Andrew Pluckett, Emma Greene, Dajour Ashwood, Melissa Oulton-Haas, Jillian-Van Blair, Jenni McCarthy, Anissa Matlock, Maxton Jones, Kate Biddle, Micheal Aaron Milligan, Dayna Beilenson
Huge thanks to the guys behind Dead by Midnight -11pm Central for sending me a link to review what I found to be an extremely fun horror anthology.
The film follows the usual format of several standalone segments tied together with a wraparound plot. However the wonderfully refreshing spin that Dead by Midnight puts on their overarching story and its effects on the other short films is what makes it an inventive standout.
I wont go into any kind of spoiler territory other than to outline the wraparound and briefly describe/rate the short stories.
A TV station on Halloween Night runs into some real trouble when the always incredible Erin Brown comes on board as horror movie marathon host 'Mistress of Midnight'. It seems that the films she is screening is starting to be populated by members of the TV station staff and this leaves Line Prodcuer Candice Spelling (Hannah Fierman) to investigate just what the hell is going on...more on this later, lets get onto the five tales of terror first:
Jersey Devil is a gooey. gory love letter to the 80s, telling the tale of young girl named Emma (Avri Bartolozzi) who has the misfortune of being hunted by the legendary pine barren demon. This all comes about after Emmas sister lets a roughed up Dani (Davi Crimmins) into their home. The acting is pretty fantastic here and Avri and Davi in particular really shine. The mythical creature known as the Jersey Devil looks amazing and far more evil and menacing than I imagined it might look like (should it really exist....). Super fun and gross in equal measure.
Who doesn't love a horror story about dolls? Well Pediophobics probably...but most horror fans love a good story about eerie inanimate objects who may well have something dangerous lurking inside them. Creepy Dolls is, I kid not, FULL of dolls. Clown dolls, baby dolls, rag dolls you name it they are in this story. The three hapless investigators who have the misfortune of entering the home of these devilish playthings are in for a true night of terror. Another great short which absolutely lives up it title.
So Lost Laundry....what a wonderfully odd little story. Two warring roommates (one is a nice,. sensible person, the other a total bitch) are further pitted against one another when Aprils (Melissa Oulton) clothes keep vanishing and she suspects snarky Amy (Jillian-Van Blair). Things just get stranger and stranger until the bat shit bonkers finale. With great performances by both leads and an insane climax this was one of the more silly and fun segments on offer.
With a fine performance by Anissa Matlock as 'Ellie' Day Three is a thrilling, race against the clock piece where a young women is desperate to rid herself of the 'thing' growing inside her. Following a harrowing abduction Ellie has been rescued but is insistent that her recently discovered pregnancy be terminated. Forced into house arrest after a violent altercation with her doctor, Ellie knows she must pull out all the stops to rid herself of what is coming...in three days...or else... This is another great short film with some awesome effects and a true body horror vibe like you would find in the 80s (think From Beyond, Street Trash, Body Melt).
This segment plays out as an eerie mystery featuring Jenni McCarthy (not that one) as Rebecca - a young women who is both madly in love with her beau Evan (Maxton Jones) and blind as a bat without her glasses. You may wonder whats one got to do with the other well....lets just say they do during the run time of this short film.
Rebecca is staying at her boyfriends home while he is away on business - the night takes a terrifying turn when she wakes up unable to find her glasses and realises she is not alone. Things just get worse for Rebecca from there on, leading to her stumbling across a horrifying secret that may just make her wish she had stayed single forever.
The ending of Blind Side was bleak and upsetting and made me feel the same type of despair as the grotesque ending to the amazing horror short Terrifer . Jenni McCarthy nailed this role and the feeling of hopelessness this short left me with as as much down to her as it is the macabre script.
I really loved this story and although its in no way 'fun' its a brilliant horror piece.
I really enjoyed Dead By Midnight every short has something to recocomend it and the wrapsround is awesome. It even features the wonderful Hannah Fierman (V/H/S, Siren) in the lead role and it is great to see her play a different character to THAT terrifying winged creature. The whole cast are great though and you can tell they had a blast making this film. Its full of grizzly practical effects, stop motion and nods to all things 80s - so basically a great great horror anthology. I cant wait to see more from these guys honestly.
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