Movie Review: Ten Minutes to Midnight

January 19, 2021

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at [email protected] He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Office politics have never gotten quite the cinematic workout that they do in director Erik Bloomquist’s Ten Minutes to Midnight. To say that it goes down unexpected paths would be an understatement, and that is just part of the bizarre fun of this well-made shocker.

Caroline Williams (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 [1986], Halloween II [2009], and more than three dozen other horror outings) plays Amy Marlowe, a veteran disc jockey whose night starts off with a bat bite during an approaching hurricane on her way to work — and things are only going to get worse for her. She soon finds out that this will be her last night before being forcefully retired by her smarmy, sleazy boss Robert (William Youmans) and replaced by his new, young protégé Sienna (Nicole Kang of Swallow [2019] and the Batwoman TV series). Station security guard Ernie (Nicholas Tucci of The Ranger [2018] and You’re Next [2011]) has locked down the building because of the storm and won’t let her outside, and her trusted engineer Aaron (Adam Weppler) may have been keeping secrets from her.

Erik Bloomquist, who cowrote the screenplay with Carson Bloomquist, has crafted a mad, frenetic concoction of vampire and contagion horror and fever dreams, amongst other elements that shouldn’t be spoiled before viewing. The pacing is fast and fun (Ten Minutes to Midnight clocks in at 73 minutes including credits) with plenty of great-looking practical makeup and gore effects. 

The ensemble cast is terrific, with some roles played earnestly and others more playfully without going over the top. Williams is outstanding as a woman facing work problems stemming from ageism and sexual politics, and her anger and assertive behavior are heightened by a bite from a wild animal that may be rabid, or possibly something worse. Amy goes through a wide range of emotions, and Williams nails each one.

Ten Minutes to Midnight is a rollicking roller coaster ride, with Erik Bloomquist nicely balancing the seriousness of the sexual politics at play with horror sequences that are thrilling and sometimes amusing. With a current eye on hot-button social issues and a bit of a throwback feel to the scare-fare proceedings, Ten Minutes to Midnight is well worth a watch. 

Ten Minutes to Midnight, from 1091 Pictures, will hit VOD and all digital platforms from January 19, 2021. 

 

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