A few weeks ago, Tony Todd was on RIVERDALE. He was only on for a few minutes, but it made me happy, because now Tony Todd can add a RIVERDALE credit to all of his future convention appearances, and become relevant to whole new generation. Todd’s brief appearance on RIVERDALE might also lead to a kid discovering CANDYMAN, and isn’t that what it’s all about? It also made me feel good, because I like seeing actors that I’m a fan of continue to make money. That’s important, I believe. So when I saw that Lin Shaye, and Robert Englund were in the new movie THE MIDNIGHT MAN, I was happy, because it was A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET reunion for one thing, but also because they would presumably be getting paid for it. And who knows? Maybe some kid is looking around on itunes or whatever, and sees that the lady from the INSIDIOUS movies is in a new movie, watches it, and then decides to watch A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET for the first time. Or maybe they are so taken with Robert Englund’s performance they decide to watch THE MANGLER. Well, I watched it, and I don’t think either will be adding this to their credits to pull people in at conventions, but I am glad they got paid for doing it, and if it introduces some young person to THE MANGLER, I think that it’s worth it.
A remake of a 2013 Irish film, THE MIDNIGHT MAN comes from director Travis Zariwny who also did the CABIN FEVER remake, and INTRUDER–which I do not believe is a re-make of the Sam Raimi produced film of the same name. There was also a movie called THE MIDNIGHT MAN that was released in 2016 that stars William Forsythe, Brent Spiner, Doug Jones, and Vinnie Jones, which is about an assassin with a genetic disorder that doesn’t allow him to feel pain. I think I want to see that one, because that is not what this one is about. This THE MIDNIGHT MAN is a fine-ish movie. And if we are talking other recent “Man’’ horror movies, this one is better than THE BYE BYE MAN. It’s gorier than expected, slick-looking, and when Shay and Englund are on the screen, the film is a lot more fun. The problem with the movie is that they aren’t on-screen that much. What’s on-screen most of the time are shots of people sitting cross-legged in front of each other discussing the convoluted rules of the game that brings “The Midnight Man” to life.
THE MIDNIGHT MAN is mostly about a game that brings forth the title character to kill people. Apparently, this an actual game. Here’s how I think it works: It’s like a survival game, and “The Midnight Man” is an entity that is released when you play it. He’s kind of like “The Candyman” in that way. To play the game, you write your name on a piece of paper, then you put one drop of blood next to your name on the paper, and let it soak in. Then you gotta turn off all the lights, and go to the door and knock 22 (!) times. On the final knock, the clock must strike midnight. Then you must open the door, and then close the door, so that the “Midnight Man” is let into the house. Oh I forgot; at some point you have to light a candle so that you can re-light the candle when The Midnight Man is let in, and try to survive his attacks until 3:33am. If your candle goes out, then the Midnight Man is near, and your best bet is to start pouring salt around you to keep him at bay. I think that’s the gist of it. The movie explains these rules–and some other rules– a lot. Seriously, a ton. Honestly, it seems like a shitty game. The “Candyman’s” game is much simpler.
What’s not shitty is seeing Lin Shaye, and Robert Englund. They’re delightful, even if they don’t have much to do. Robert Englund is relegated to explaining a bunch of the rules and wearing a pair of studious glasses, but honestly, this movie is better than some of the dreck I’ve seen him in. Lin Shaye screams a bunch, and sometimes it’s really funny because it comes out of nowhere, and it’s like 50% of the dialogue she has in the film. She does it well though, so whatever. I think a younger version of me would have been annoyed with Shay and Englund having such small roles in a not-very-good movie, but as I’ve gotten older, and have had to pay more bills, I understand. THE MIDNIGHT MAN gets as much use of them as it can afford, and Shay and Englund get paid. No harm done.
That pretty much sums up THE MIDNIGHT MAN: Everybody gets paid, and nobody gets hurt. Well the actors don’t, some characters do, and it is pretty bloody, so that’s a positive. One more positive is the look of “The Midnight Man”. He kind of looks like a “Dementor” from Harry Potter mixed with a lizard. He looks cool, but he’s got to work on his game. He should talk to Tony Todd about that.