Sunday, October 2, 2011

After Midnight

In this terrifying bone-chiller, a group of college students meet at their professor's house to let it all hang out, chug-a-lug and shout, stimulate some action, get some satisfaction, and find out what it's all about.

No, I'm sorry. That's not right. Actually, their professor is teaching some class on the psychology of fear, and basically they all get together to tell scary stories. It's an anthology film. In the stories: a man and woman break down in the middle of nowhere and find themselves seeking help at a creepy looking old mansion; a group of teenage girls break down in the bad part of town and find themselves terrorized by a crazed vagrant and his vicious, well-trained dogs; finally (no break downs in this one) a phone messaging service operator with a broken leg hears a murder over the phone, and finds herself next on the killer's hit list.

I'm a sucker for a good horror anthology movie. Or even a not that good horror anthology movie, as is the case here. I tend to prefer these kinds of stories to be short and sweet, with a good twist ending, which isn't really the case with After Midnight, although technically the first story has a twist ending. These are all more in the vein of "oh shit, something's chasing me and I have to get away from it" type horror stories, which is funny because those don't seem like the kind of scary stories you sit around and tell your friends. I can only imagine, if instead of the stories being short films we just saw the characters in the wraparound story talking, there'd be a lot of scenes of people saying "And then the girls ran from the dogs into another room. And then into another room, and then down a hallway."

Still, this is silly, reasonably well-made 80's fun. It's never boring, it's got some enjoyable special effects (especially during the nonsensical finale) and I'll probably never have the need to ever watch it again in my life.

One (probably not intentional) hilarious touch: during one of the wraparound segments, the power goes out, and the professor says he thinks he has some candles he can light. Cut to the next scene, where the room is now filled with, like, 50 different candles of varying sizes eerily lighting the room. Who keeps that many candles?!

Grade: C+


Shenan said...

Maybe something similar happened to them as did to us when we threw a party and the power went out--one of their guests (a la Sabah) showed up with a whole box full of candles :)

Your description actually makes me wish I'd payed more attention this. I started getting ready for our night out about halfway through, and sort of missed the whole anthology part. Am I right though that this movie had a big lead-up (aka, a long lead up) to get to the part where they're all telling stories, if that's the main premise?

Dan said...

The wraparound story probably got a little more screentime than they usually do in these movies, mostly just because of the extended classroom scene at the beginning. Most other anthology movies would have skipped that part and gone straight to the students meeting at the professor's house. Still, I'd say they are telling stories withing 10 or 15 minutes, which isn't TOO long.