Director: Robert Boocheck, Lee Cronin, Francisco Sonic Kim, Ryan Lightbourn, Marc Martinez Jordan, Kevin McTurk, James Moran, Christian Rivers, Sid Zanforlin
Cast: Jason Flemyng, Barbara Steele, Mika Boorem
Screenplay: Chris Bavota, Robert Boocheck, Lee Cronin, Collin George, Ryan Lightbourn, Marc Martinez Jordan, Guy McDouall, James Moran, Ryan Murphy, Sid Zanforlin
98 mins. Not Rated.
Minutes Past Midnight is another horror anthology (seriously, they are poppin’ up like weeds) released in 2016. This collection takes several popular short film from previous years and works them together into an interesting and odd group of short stories.
Horrific is the story of a Texas goat rancher fighting off a well-known predator from his home. Ghost Train is the tale of two brothers who make a yearly trip to the abandoned fairground where their friend went missing years earlier. Awake is the story of a son’s mysterious illness and the parents struggling to understand. Roid Rage is an exploitation look at the mystery surrounding the deaths of hookers all over town and the FBI agents who discover a shocking culprit. Timothy is the tale of a little boy’s obsession with a children’s TV character. The Mill at Calder’s End is an animated tale in the style of classic Hammer horror and H.P. Lovecraft. Crazy for You is a love story with a murderous twist. Feeder is a parable about artistic passion and the things we are willing to sacrifice for our craft. Never Tear Us Apart is a yarn about two friends who meet some less-than-reputable characters in the woods. Together, these macabre tales form the spine to this spine-tingling horror anthology, Minutes Past Midnight.
Minutes Past Midnight suffers from the same problem that so many anthologies have, the central issue with frustrated tone. Some of the stories in the collection are brutal, some are strange, some are comedic, some are intense, some are horrific, and sadly, very few are memorable. I think of Ghost Train as a particularly engaging tale, but even it feels out of place in this story collection. The Mill at Calder’s End is quite good for completely different reasons. And I think that sums up the central issue of Minutes Past Midnight: many, if not all, of these shorts were not crafted for the anthology framework, and they feel hodge-podged together in a very strange and uncomfortable way. Some of the shorts flat-out do not work, particularly Roid Rage, and the film feels jammed together, because frankly, they are.
This is a collection that would feel better to the viewer if they spaced it out. I’m talking like watch a story, then clean your cat’s litterbox, then watch one, then maybe get a load of dishes going, then Hey! watch one, and finally clean out the garage. Minutes Past Midnight is more of a interesting selection of finds as opposed to an altogether cohesive experience.
This horror anthology is frustrating in its confusing conjunction. It works best when it ceases to be a horror anthology. Some of these shorts work, but not in this format. It’s fun, but because of its failure in creating a mixtape quality of cohesiveness, it never becomes truly memorable. This is one to caution yourself with.
-Kyle A. Goethe
For my review of the anthology film ABCs of Death 2, click here.