Greetings from the Underground!
It is time to toss on the headphones and spin that vinyl with the new horror film starring Caroline Williams called Ten Minutes to Midnight. Williams plays veteran D.J. Amy Marlowe who has been the host of a show called “Ten Minutes to Midnight” for three decades. While heading to work one night she is bitten by a bat with rabies and that is just the beginning of her night from hell. Her lecherous boss asks her to show the ropes to Sienna, a new hire at the station. Amy suspects her job may be in jeopardy but that is the least of her worries. The group is soon trapped in the building due to a hurricane outside. Amy begins to feel very odd, and her behavior becomes more erratic as reality and nightmare bleed together. Does she have rabies or is there something more going on?
Director Erik Bloomquist gives us a fun twist on a classic tale. I love how he takes you down the rabbit hole of insanity with Amy Marlowe. While you may predict what is happening early on, Bloomquist throws enough odd visions and creepy nightmarish scenes to make you second guess yourself. The story is told through the perspective of Amy throughout. We always experience the same frightening things that she is experiencing whether it is her sudden craving for blood, trying to harm herself or trying to “wake” herself up, or just her fighting with the fact she may be on the way out. Shooting scenes at mid to closeup shots also keeps things very intimate with the main character.
Caroline Williams puts in a bloody, badass performance. She is in every scene of the movie and has no problem carrying the load. I loved the hard-rockin’ attitude that she brought to the character while still allowing the audience to sympathize with her. Amy is a character with many layers and even if you may not understand the events going on around her, you will understand Amy as a person thanks to the talent of Williams. Sienna is played by Nicole Kang. She really brings her own attitude to the film, and I loved the clashes between Sienna and Amy. There is an intense venom-filled scene where the two really lay their feelings out on the table just before going on air.
Ten Mintues to Midnight opens with old school 80s style credits but it didn’t feel like it was trying to be retro. The spirit of those movies are present but it has its own identity, which I was happy with. They never really established a time period for the story and I think that will help in years to come ensuring that the movie does not seem dated. The practical makeup effects will also help with that. There is one scene involving digital effects that I found the scene to be a bit more humorous than scary, but there are still plenty of scares to be had. The last twenty minutes goes completely off the rails in the best possible way. When the credits roll, you may not have all the answers to what was real and what was in Amy’s head, but you will have had a fun time.
October always brings out some of the best horror films of the year and Ten Minutes to Midnight is one of them. It is a classic story told from a unique perspective using old school techniques. I did not know much about this tale going into it but I came out of it with a smile on my face, along with a bit of head-scratching. Fans of Caroline Williams will definitely want to watch. It is currently showing at theaters, drive-ins, and pop screens around the country. It recently got picked up for VOD so look for it soon to take a bite out of your regular streaming services. I give it 4 out of 5 bloody records.