As New Year’s Eve approaches, a gaggle of friends converge on a lodge to celebrate as a storm rolls in. sounds like a good excuse to do a lil’ boozin’ and bonin’ right? Well yeah, it is…but there’s one little catch. The woods around the lodge are the hunting ground for a cadre of masked psychos who make weapons (and art) out of human remains…and this being an excursion into the horror biz and all you cats n’ creeps can do the monstrous math on this one and figure out our party hardy friends and those kill crazy lunatics are going to butt heads rather quickly. As the bodies pile higher and higher during the course of the game of stalk n’ slay what secrets will be reveled about our sinister slashers and how many of the cast will survive the night?
Let’s start, as always, with what is fresh n’ tasty about Minutes to Midnight! The strongest element this fright flick has to offer is the strength of the visual design of the masked assailants that make life such a never ending bitch and a half for our antagonists…creating a unique look for villains in the over saturated slasher genre is no easy task, but the main man of menace in this pic is a sight to behold with a puss that’s straight Satan’s scarecrow and a nasty weapon made of the leftovers of his victims…to put it simply he owned the screen whenever he filled the fearsome frame! Also of note are the fun uses of practical gore effects (a favorite around these putrid parts), and the strength of the cast who manage to rise above their cardboard cut out status to become characters that are at least sympathetic while being their intentionally semi-douchey selves (at least until they become scared lil’ rabbits that is). Finally, there are some great performances by William Baldwin (honestly, my fav acting turn in the entire film), Richard Grieco (as the aforementioned Sheriff…a fantastic tortured performance), and Christopher Judge (as a stoic Ranger).
On the negative side, we do get plenty of the genres most familiar tropes trotted out (the forest setting, the isolated cabin, the masked killers, the pretty young cast up for debauchery and then slaughter)…your mileage may vary on how essential you feel these elements are, or how sick of them you have become…but they are here in all their glory for better or for worse…
All in all I feel that Minutes to Midnight is a strong, if familiar entry in the slasher genre; it gives us plenty of boobs, blood, and (masked) bad guys (and a woman as well!) so horror hounds will be well and fully satisfied…and I could easily see this spinning off into a fright franchise worth following!
For more on Minutes to Midnight from Horror Fuel head here!