Director: Scott Leberecht
Cast: Zak Kilberg, Maya Parish, Jo D. Jonz
Disk Extras: Commentary with director and cast / Deleted scenes / Interviews with cast and crew / Trailer
It has been said before on this site that vampire movies just aren’t my thing. There are exceptions, like some of the classic Hammer titles and even ’80s shlock like The Lost Boys, but for the most part bloodsucking cinema has grown stale and redundant especially with the recent pop-culture resurrection of the genre. These neo-vamps haven’t really contributed anything new to the mythos and have even watered it down to appeal to 12 year old girls in some cases. Stepping up to champion the cause of vampires everywhere is first-time feature writer and director Scott Leberecht who has taken it upon himself to turn people like me into vampire fans with his “real life” portrayal of vampirism in modern day Los Angeles, Midnight Son. Fang-bangers everywhere should take notice of this movie for fear of it flying under the radar and not getting the reception it so richly deserves.
Jacob is a lonely young man who works the overnight shift as a security guard and sleeps all day since the sunlight has proven caustic to his skin since childhood. Until recently that has been the only odd thing about Jake but now he has begun having ravenous bouts of hunger that he can’t quite satiate. He soon realizes that raw animal blood is what his body needs to quell his appetite. While leaving the bar one night, he meets Mary, a cocaine addict selling cigarettes and candy on the street and immediately they connect as two lonely people looking for someone to satisfy the emotional hunger inside them. Jacob’s cravings for blood (now human) and love are driving him into intense desperation as he cannot share his darker side with the woman with whom he is now in love. His lust for human blood drives him to the seedy underbelly of dealers and thugs, pushing him further away from Mary.
Leberecht’s story is less about a vampire and more about the dark, intense loneliness and isolation most have endured at some point in their life. His characterizations of the need of beings to connect with others of their kind, whether human or vampire, is nothing short of beautiful and brilliant. He used sparsity in every aspect of Midnight Son to amplify the feeling of alienation and emptiness, from the dialogue to the number of main characters to the elegant yet powerful score and even the sets themselves. You never quite know the full array of Jacob’s supernatural “powers” because the less you know, the more tension is built in his struggle with becoming. His intermingling with Mary and his “dealer” Marcus are so sorrowful as he struggles with each one, needing something from both and having an inner struggle about every decision he makes concerning both. The plot is so sparse and intense, it makes the whole thing incredibly unpredictable.
The three leads played by Zak Kilberg (“Jacob”), Maya Parish (“Mary”) and Jo D. Jonz (“Marcus”) are more than phenomenal, they are unforgettable. Kilberg is brooding yet vulnerable as the reluctant blood sucker who is drawn to the Maya Parish “Mary” character, who is also emotionally naked yet willing to go out on a limb for Jacob. They both played these very relatable people with the passion the characters themselves would have had. I felt every uncomfortable and chilling moment they shared. Jonz played the soulless and violent “Marcus” who has no redeeming value and revels in that fact, as Jonz seemed to playing the role. You hate him vehemently throughout and wish him the worst.
Everything about Midnight Son is intense and dark, from the skulking cinematography to the haunting yet ambient music score by talented musical artist Kays Al-Atrakchi. The final scene in the film is so brilliant and artistic, it will be with me for a long time. Scott Leberecht has single handedly given me hope in the vampire mythos and I hope to see a lot more of him in any genre in the future.