Directed by: Matthew Hill
Written by: #MatthewHill
Lined with retro horror trappings, short film The Midnight Stalker from filmmaker Matthew Hill is all about the classics. From its suburban setting, to its coming of age central character in peril, this is a #horror movie comfortable in the cinematic familiar.
Rosie Frecker plays Grace, a teenager who can't shake the feeling that something odd is going on. After seeing a strange figure in the distance, her alone time with a parent-less house is soon disturbed when a figure looks to be terrorising her. Will she be able to escape with the help of her mate Audrey (Pauline Lejon)? Or will she become a victim of the titular Midnight Stalker?
Playing on well-known fears and apprehensions, Hill's movie capitalises on Grace's anxiety by playing her story out within a foreboding and unnerving atmosphere.
The original music from #GiuseppeAlfano feels like it came straight out of a #Hammer movie, equal parts terrifying and thrilling. The framing of certain scenes also borrows a lot from scary films of old, such as the telephone call Grace makes to Audrey whilst the Stalker (Will Pattenden) lurks in the window frame, riffing from the #HomeInvasion archives on titles such as Scream and The Others.
Whilst the tone and feeling of The Midnight Stalker is compelling, it falls down with a script bereft of anything original to offer an audience. As an 8-minute short film, viewers are unlikely to be expecting copious amounts of backstory or even exposition but the complete lack of context with this story and the characters makes it very hard to care when the inevitable terrorising occurs. The dialogue between Audrey and Grace seems contrived and quite dull at times, making their friendship seem pretty stilted. There was also an odd choice to make this a quasi period piece (based on Grace's glasses, the lack of mobile phones, and the synth style score) which was clumsily done.
As an entryway into horror movies, The Midnight Stalker could be an arresting piece but for anyone familiar with any other scary film they will instantly be on familiar ground. And whilst the look and feel of the piece is admirable, and Alfano's music is a complete triumph, the story feels cobbled together from the plainest of ingredients to turn in something fairly ordinary and forgettable.
Watch the official movie trailer for the film below.