Checking out IMDb, I was astounded to find that Midnight Movie was awash with glowing reviews. It doesn’t surprise me that some people enjoyed the film; that’s going to happen with any film, since there’s never anything that NO ONE likes, even ironically. But it was strange to see Midnight Movie getting such high ratings from nearly everyone who bothered to review it, as though this film was somehow on par with Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon for changing the slasher genre.

Midnight Movie isn’t nearly that smart. You’ll notice that right from the beginning. Perhaps what’s throwing viewers is the metafictional nature of the film, where a killer enters reality through his own movie at a midnight showing of the film. But if I wanted to see this idea done better, I would have simply turned on the Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode “The Tale of the Midnight Madness,” which is both scarier and more creative.

Maybe it’s the killer himself that has fueled the success of Midnight Movie. A serial killer in reality, the skull-masked killer jumps from on-screen movie to Midnight Movie‘s world, bringing with him a strange tool that apparently rips out the heart with ease. Sure, that’s an interesting gimmick, but it’s hardly anything worth stammering about – every killer needs an iconic method, and Midnight Movie manages one as well.

However, the rest of the film is a tiresome shuffle through bad acting and insipid dialogue, all the time set in the same movie theater where the victims can’t exit. The killer is large and menacing, and also entirely predictable. There’s not one character that has any sort of life within this film, least of all our main character and Taylor Swift stand-in Bridget (Rebekah Brandes); the film uses her as the Final Girl so she can overcome her past, but the script is so bad that the “hints” at her father’s abusive relationship with her are provided as expositional dialogue in case the audience couldn’t figure out the film’s veiled allusions – “My dad used to beat us,” or something equally stupid.

Did I mention that the film featured in Midnight Movie is supposed to be from the ’70s? That’s funny, I don’t remember any horror films from the ’70s looking that crappy. If the idea was to emulate something like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the film, Midnight Movie could have at least tried a little harder. Not only was it a terrible homage, it made me downright angry.

There was only one thing that kept me interested, and that was Travis Tritt, until I realized that it wasn’t Travis Tritt at all in Midnight Movie but Stan Ellsworth. Then I really lost interest.

Midnight Movie on Rotten Tomatoes

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