HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan
Safe Spaces
Stanford Prison Experiment, The
Assassination in Rome
Castle Freak
Pinocchio
Brother Bear
Raiders of Buddhist Kung Fu
County Lines
Polytechnique
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Covert Action
Strangler's Web
Host
Nimic
House of Bamboo
Murder Me, Monster
Hell and High Water
Possessor
Flint
Miserables, Les
Ritz, The
Patrick
Cemetery
Girls of the Sun
Princess and the Goblin, The
Skyfire
Upright
Incredible Kung Fu Mission
Dirty Cops
You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist
Son's Room, The
Evil Hits Evil
Agency
Blue My Mind
Thumbelina
Proxima
Aprile
Assassination Nation
   
 
Newest Articles
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
   
 
  Midnight After, The Twilight in Hong Kong
Year: 2014
Director: Fruit Chan
Stars: Wong Yau-Nam, Janice Man, Chui Tien-Yu, Kara Hui Ying-Hung, Simon Yam, Sam Lee, Lee Sheung-Ching, Lam Suet, Cherry Ngan, Kelvin Chan, Ronny Yuen, Jan Curious, Russell Zhou, Zhang Chi
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Science Fiction, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: In Hong Kong a dozen strangers board a bus headed for the Tai Po district. But once substitute driver Suet (Lam Suet) drives through the Lion Rock Tunnel, crossing from Kowloon into the New Territories, the passengers suddenly find the city is completely empty. Literally everyone but them across Hong Kong has vanished without a trace. Three students depart the bus only to succumb to a strange illness that rapidly putrefies their bodies in gruesome fashion. While ageing gangster Wong (Simon Yam) and superstitious insurance broker Ying (Kara Hui Ying-Hung) trade conflicting theories as to what is going on, twenty-something Chi (Wong Yau-Nam) returns to Kowloon hoping to find his missing girlfriend. He forms an uneasy bond with fetching but mysterious Yuki (Janice Man) who anxiously seeks her boyfriend. Instead they find the laws of time and space gone awry while strange masked figures lurk menacingly on the streets. Things only get weirder the next day when everyone re-groups at a restaurant. Tech expert Shun (Chui Tien-Yu) intercepts a mysterious signal beamed seemingly from outer space. It sounds awfully familiar to nerdy music fan Wai (Jan Curious), but can the group stop bickering, turning on each other or indulging petty grievances long enough to find a way out of their apocalyptic predicament?

Known for provocative social satires like the award-winning Made in Hong Kong (1997) and Durian Durian (2000), Hong Kong art-house hero Fruit Chan also crafts the occasional horror film. Most notably Dumplings (2004), his divisive segment of the anthology film Three... Extremes (2004) later given a separate theatrical release, though Chan also made Don't Look Up (2009) a remake of a popular Japanese title and Tales from the Dark (2013). With The Midnight After Chan crafts his most audacious and iconoclastic attempt to meld horror, absurdist comedy and social commentary yet. The results will not be to everyone's taste. Based on the popular internet novel 'Lost on a Red Minibus to Tai Po' penned a pseudonymous author called Pizza, the film boasts the kind of high concept premise that is typically J.J. Abrams' bread and butter. The plot plunges a cross-section of Hong Kong city archetypes into a darkly comedic Twilight Zone-ish scenario piling weirdness upon weirdness. Chan plays around with Asian horror tropes, messing with his characters' minds along with those of genre-savvy viewers while treading a razor-thin line between the nightmarish and plain ridiculous. Not many horror films can segue from exploding bodies and a necrophiliac rape scene to a full-on cheesy dance number where the cast reinterpret David Bowie's 'Space Oddity.' It is implied the lyrics hold a vital clue but since the Cantonese characters have no idea who Bowie is, they remain none the wiser.

The Midnight After does not weave silliness for the mere sake of being silly. The film's dark satire taps an urban paranoia still lingering in Hong Kong post the SARS epidemic and the handover from British colonial rule to mainland China. Chan presents an ensemble of hustlers, losers, hipsters and street punks as representative of a community fractured by self-interest, nihilism and an inability to empathize. Every character in the film clings stubbornly to their own selfish goals even in the face of the apocalypse. Without lapsing into didactic hectoring, the film makes its point that Hong Kong has lost its sense of community. The satire is parochial, laden with in-jokes about local life unlikely to play as well outside Hong Kong. Nonetheless The Midnight After is briskly paced and consistently engaging with vivid performances across the board from veteran Simon Yam, former Shaw Brothers kung fu star turned multiple award-winning dramatic actress Kara Hui Ying-Hung, comedy stalwart Lam Suet, a plethora of photogenic young leads and scene-stealing Cantopop star Jan Curious. The deal-breaker for non-HK viewers is that Chan is clearly more interested in weaving metaphors than clarifying his story with anything so mundane as a logical explanation. Multiple theories are aired throughout the movie but the climax satisfies chiefly on an allegorical and emotional level whilst leaving more loose ends than a bucket of spaghetti. By turns funny and creepy (including one especially vivid and unsettling scene where the characters debate how best to deal with a rapist in their midst), The Midnight After frustrates and intrigues in equal measure but remains a pleasingly ambitious, thought-provoking and unique experience.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 810 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: