Okay, so we know just how en vogue the vampire genre is right now. You won’t have gone to the cinema or flicked through the TV channels without spying pale-faces falling in love and sipping on blood bags or some unwitting victims bare neck.

 

If there is a topic that has been discussed more than the vampire film itself it’s the criticism of vampire films. It’s been the ‘IT’ topic with everyone from film buffs to misguided cinemagoers wading in on the debate with harsh criticisms of a certain sparkly vampire saga. I’m a purist when it comes to vampires- they should, essentially be based in the category of horror. However, it is an age-old tale of humanity, lust and if we want to get really Freudian, penetration. Whilst I want vampires to evoke fear- they undeniably have to evoke themes of love and sexuality- this makes them relatable and gives the story stability and some sort of reason. Viewers love to criticise the likes of Twilight- however although it has the teenage slant and a little less gore than I would like the semantics of why vampire flicks are popular are still there. We often find fear when we recognise ourselves in the monster- and the vampire is the perfect mix of human and monster- meaning it can delve into so many different realms of emotions that surpass fear.image003

 

The foundations of the vampire’s character are not clear-cut which is why I feel strongly when critics try to separate them into solely horror-based monsters.  Fitting into various sub-genres including comedy the vampire film is one of the most diverse and relatable tales. In The Vampires [1913] they were not undead, but simply vampish characters- femme fatale style characters perhaps highlighting the sexual link to these bloodsuckers. Yet the infamous, Nosferatu [1922] played on the supernatural aspect of the character- and this is where the idea of the vampire being destroyed by daylight comes from.

 

Fast forward to 2012, and Midnight Son directed and written by Scott Leberecht uses this idea of repelling sunlight as a major theme in his ‘thinking-man’s’ horror film. Whilst it deals out a lot more gore than the aforementioned sparkling vampire clan it has more depth than a mindless bloodsucking ripper terrorising young girls in the dead of night.

 

A man suffering from a rare skin disorder becomes increasingly unwell and rather ravenously hungry, becomes the prime suspect in a series of gruesome murders that he cannot seem to remember. Meanwhile, he falls for a pretty bartender who has a penchant for illegal substances and seems indifferent by the fact that he cannot go out during the daytime. He eventually satisfies his appetite with blood but fails to piece together the puzzle of his unusual lifestyle.

 

There is definitely the horror-element in Midnight Son- gory scenes of blood loss, burning bodies and victims being drained- yet it is also a romance film. The tropes of the undead are revamped making it more realistic. The character development is sad at times as he realises his condition is worsening and essentially uncontrollable. Its slow burn approach is similar to that of ‘Let the right one in’- don’t expect an action packed gore fest.

 

Zak Kilberg deserves to be recognised for his killer performance as Jacob- the guy who fails to realise he’s a vampire and is still up for starting a new relationship despite battling a rather bizarre illness. He fits perfectly into the archetype of dark haired pasty-faced attractive male lead that seems sensitive but is prone to bloodsucking outbursts.

 

You can tell that the film is low budget but this doesn’t distract from the great spin on the age-old vampire tale.

 

At time it felt slightly disjointed- we never quite see what’s going on making the audience as clueless as Jacob. Plus, it’s never explained how Jacob develops the ‘condition’, which I found a little frustrating. Also, as a self-proclaimed vampire-lover I was disappointed by the absence of fangs- but as I explained in the intro, vampire films are all about breaking the mould- not following the same clichéd tropes time and again has been their success over the years.

 

Midnight Son is probably for true film lovers- a contemplative, slow-boil thriller with splashes of blood-lust and an odd ball romance for good measure.

About The Author

Emily Stockham

Emily is from South London and has a degree in English Literature. Emily is a marketing assistant who writes about films and music in her spare time. Horror and grindhouse are her thing - although she will happily watch anything if it means a trip to the cinema.