Minutes To Midnight (2018) starring William Baldwin, Bill Moseley and Richard Grieco. Directed by Christopher Ray.
People think making a Slasher movie is easy. Minutes To Midnight (not to be confused with 2016’s Minutes Past Midnight) is a perfect example for the argument of, ‘No it fucking isn’t’.
The movie opens with a couple out for a romantic picnic. At least it was romantic until the girl points out that this is the place where all the grisly murders took place. Boyfriend concurs that yes, it is the place where all the grisly murders took place but decides to plough on like a fucking champ and gets down on one knee and pulls out a ring. Before girlfriend can reply she is abducted by some chick who looks like Kitana from Mortal Kombat II (the arcade game because fuck me, I’m not watching the live action movies) and boyfriend is murdered by a low budget Leatherface type dude. Like if someone wanted to cosplay Leatherface but hadn’t seen any of the movies and didn’t want to spend any money on a real costume so they cobbled something together at home and basically it looks fucking awful but all the shops are closed now and the guests have started to arrive so fuck it, we’re stuck with this. That kind of Leatherface.
The film then cuts to some office types who are slacking off because it’s New Year’s Eve when all of a sudden William Baldwin walks in and gives them the keys to some cabin where the workers are gonna party like it’s 1999 or something.
The film cuts again to some backpacker dude going around town asking people if they’ve seen his missing brother. Like that dude Clay from the 2009 Friday 13th except he was looking for his sister. Turns out his missing brother is none other than Proposal Guy from the start of the film! Small world.
Office slackers then walk to the lodge because apparently it’s ‘close.’ I mean so much for the isolation and being stranded, the cabin is literally walking distance from downtown. On the way the group are spied on by Costco Leatherface in true Friday 13th shaky camera and heavy breathing, predominant in the first two movies to keep the identity of the killer secret. Except we know its Costco Leatherface because they already introduced the character, but whatever. I should point out that at no time are the characters ‘deep in the backwoods’ like in Friday 13th or Wrong Turn. The trees are so thinly populated you can see for a quarter of a mile in every direction.
Anyways Office Slackers make it to the cabin and we’re introduced to ‘the sheriff’ played by Richard Grieco, who is not wearing a uniform or a badge or anything. He looks like he wandered onto the set by accident and they started shooting. So the sheriff warns them a big storm is rolling in and they better get the fuck out.
Just as I’m wondering where Bill Moseley is, the film cuts to some basement type place where the filmmakers tried to recreate Leatherface’s house with bones and body parts everywhere but holy shit, the props department had zero budget because the bodies are literally mannequins from a department store, I shit you not. You know that video from the Insane Clown Posse for their song Bowling Balls? That has a better set and props than this movie. Not even joking.
Anyways Bill Moseley is acting all crazy and psycho and painting pictures with real human blood blah blah blah.
The film then cuts to a party where the host informs everyone that a storm is rolling in. Suddenly the light go out and everyone is murdered by Costco Leatherface and Kitana.
Turns out Office Slackers decided not to leave the cabin because of the storm that’s rolling in. The fact that a storm is rolling in is mentioned so many times by the filmmakers that if Sheridan included it in one of his drinking rules people would be comatose by the thirty third minute of the film. If there’s one thing you’ll unequivocally take away from this movie it’s the fact that THERE’S A STORM ROLLING IN.
And that’s the movie really, Office Slackers are dispatched one by one by Costco Leatherface and Kitana. My main gripe with this movie, apart from the uninspired story and acting, is the dialogue. I mean, I can take shit special effects all day long but what really kills a movie is the dialogue.
Here’s a snipet:
Clay type dude: Storm’s rolling in.
Black girl: Where are you going?
Clay type dude: To look for my brother.
Black girl: You can’t go out there, there’s a storm rolling in.
The real piss take is that throughout the movie there is no fucking storm! No rain, no wind, no lightning. All we get is the occasional peal of thunder in the background, like you hear on those nature CDs that new age hippies listen to, to help them fall asleep. And this is the storm that has the sheriff threatening to evacuate the entire town! I just can’t even…
Black guy: What’s your name?
White guy: Travis.
Black guy (opens a beer): So, your name’s Travis, right?
Also, the characters are just throwaway garbage. I don’t care about any of them. This is fine in an established slasher series. One of the criticisms of the 2009 Friday 13th was that the characters were ‘annoying’. Well, duh! These people argue that if you don’t care about the characters then everything is meaningless. Clearly these people are fucking stupid because nobody watches a modern Friday 13th movie for the characters. We’re here for Jason, and nobody BUT Jason. Once you get into double figures for sequels the characters are basically cannon fodder for Jason, and this is perfectly fine. Same goes for Freddy and Michael. Seriously, who gives a shit about Laurie Strode in H20?
But Minutes To Midnight is not an established franchise, so characters matter. They give us the jock, the slut and the ‘funny’ guy, but they’re so generic and bland. The actors injected zero personality into any of them. I mean, the actor playing the funny guy tried his best, but the script gave him zero to work with and he just came off as annoying.
The characters in the early Friday 13th movies, before it became an established franchise the world over, are people we grew to love, from Ralph in part 1, Ginny in part 2 to Junior in part 5, and that’s not including Tommy Fucking Jarvis who had his own trilogy. Point is, slashers are not throwaway movies, new entries into the genre need great memorable characters, a super creepy killer with a cool backstory and a final girl people are rooting for, all of which are lacking from Minutes To Midnight. They literally try to inject some backstory into the last five minutes of the movie, as an afterthought. I mean come on! You should have opened the movie with that to stop people from wondering why these boring, mundane, non-descript, cookie cutter assholes are being murdered in the first place.
Seriously, Minutes To Midnight is a prime example of how not to make a slasher movie because it treats slasher fans with contempt and gets everything wrong. Fuck this movie.
Steve Barnard lurks in the Stygian swamps of South America. He divides his time between scouring ancient jungles for the lost City of the Monkey Children and watching horror movies. Literally any horror movie he can get his hands on. Especially Japanese ones.