Film Review: Midnight Son (2011)

SYNOPSIS:

The story of a young man confined to a life of isolation, due to a very rare skin disorder. His world changes when he meets a local bartender and falls in love. Jacob worsening condition Forced by the disease to drink human blood for sustenance law enforcement narrow their focus on him as a suspect in a series of grisly murders.

REVIEW:

A highly inventive film that puts a new perspective on the issue of vampirism. “Midnight Son” tackles this fictional issue by removing much of the glamour we’ve come to know and replaces it with the problems of affliction and social disease. Jacob (Zak Kilberg) is one such individual who discovered at an early age that he is highly photo-sensitive to sunlight carrying a rare skin disorder. Leaving a scarring burn on his arm, he has managed to alter his life to meet the demands of his particular handicap. Working as a security night guard and keeping his small apartment covered during the day keeps him out of harms way. Though upon reaching his 25th birthday, he is finding that their is something else ailing him. Something that feels more like a transformation than just a stomach flu.

Jacob visits his doctor who tells him that he might be afflicted with “anemia”. He also informs him that he is malnourished (despite Jacob claiming he eats all the time). Thru discovery, Jacob finds relief in the blood of butcher meat. However, it only seems fleeting and never enough. Draining meat and drinking it like a latte is just not enough to cure his hunger. Growing ever so sick, Jacob learns that he was on the right track with blood, but that human blood offers the proper sustenance he’s been looking for. It is during this realization that he meets Mary (Maya Parish), a local bartender and forms an instant friendship. Jacob begins dating her but is reluctant to tell her about his issues. They quickly develop into a love interest at the threat of Jacob’s secrets tainting the relationship. She finds admiration in Jacob’s sun depictions paintings art (despite Jacob not being ever able to look at the sun) as they elevate into a troubled drama that is tainted by Jacob’s illness.

Jacob learns of vampires, but never really makes the connection to himself (at least not at first). He does though discover that his need has elevated to that of a junkie who must have human blood. He finds relief in a local hospital garbage bin where he meets medical aid Marcus (Jo D. Jonz). Marcus offers to keep him supplied for a cost. The 2 of them quickly develop a “junkie and supplier” relationship. One that Jacob doesn’t really care for.

Jacob also begins to suspect that he may been responsible for the recent death of a local woman. So much in fact, that he offers himself to the local detective who dismisses him as being delusional. This subplot works its way into he background in a interesting way.

Director / writer Scott Leberecht presents us what I’m calling a low-rent love story. Though the term only refers to the setting of urban distress and city life. Jacob and Mary are a unique couple. They don’t have the glamour of vampire magic and illustrious settings to tell their tale. The tale is centered on a boy who doesn’t know who or what he is. His discovery comes in the form of survival rather than assumption or hearsay. In a small way it compares to directions like the (1976) film “Martin“. Jacob is suffering from a potential fatal illness, it never occurs that his traits are escalating into some of the key trademarks of vampirism. While we never take the fictional route of fans and flying bats, we hone in on 3 particular aspects of vampires (Hunger for blood, sunlight is fatale and lack of blood producing yellow eyes).

Mary is perhaps his only source of comfort despite Jacob being reluctant to pull her into his bizarre life issues.

The key to the evolving interest in this film is engaging the evidence over a process. We already make certain assumptions but are also always in doubt of what is transpiring. Even when the pieces fall together in the way we suspect, there is this hint of denial on our part. “Midnight Son” highly succeeds with this approach somehow hiding beneath its surface a abstract love story.

Midnight son” gets to its 3rd act with a few surprises leading it up. In some sense it teases the factor of vampirism by prodding at it with a realistic approach. The final scene, while disturbing is quite beautiful in its own macabre way. Fantastically executed with stark realism that defines a new perspective for the vampire genre, “Midnight Son” is an incredible piece.

Midnight Son (2011)

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