Midnighters Review
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For many people, New Year’s Day is the time for new opportunities and new chances—to leave the past behind and start fresh. But in the thriller Midnighters, a troubled couple’s fresh start is put on hold when they’re forced to cover up a tragic mistake.

Midnighters begins as Lindsey and Jeff Pittman (Alex Essoe and Dylan McTee) are heading home from a New Year’s Eve party with Lindsey’s coworkers. During the drive, Jeff doesn’t notice the man walking down the dark, wooded street until it’s too late to keep from hitting him. After the man dies, they realize the seriousness of the situation—and, since they’ve both had a few drinks, they decide to wait to report the accident. But their decision sets off a chain of events that puts them and Lindsey’s sister, Hannah (Perla Haney-Jardine), in danger.

Of course, what initially seems like an unfortunate hit-and-run quickly turns into something much bigger and more complicated. Details about the family and their relationships gradually come out, adding more drama and tension to the story: Lindsey’s frustration with Jeff’s lack of ambition, Jeff’s frustration with his controlling wife, Hannah’s shady former boyfriend, whose illegal business dealings turned deadly. Though their histories are hinted at more than fully developed, it’s clear that the characters’ relationships with one another are already strained—and when things start to get tough, they all start to turn on each other as they try to protect themselves.

The decisions the characters make along the way aren’t always smart. They fumble their way through an awkward visit from the cops, and their actions might sometimes make you want to yell at the screen. But the story is intriguing, and the growing tension between the characters will keep you guessing how it’ll all work out in the end.

The cast, meanwhile, offers some chilling performances—especially Essoe, who transforms her character from tired and resigned to cold, calculating, and unexpectedly ruthless when threatened. And Ward Horton is equally eerie as the mysterious detective who shows up at the house to investigate the situation. Admittedly, the pieces don’t all come together perfectly—and the story isn’t always as gripping as it could be—but the backstabbing and shifting loyalties make for a haunting thriller.

Midnighters isn’t a flawless first feature for The Walking Dead editor-turned-director Julius Ramsay, but it’s definitely a quietly eerie one. And after seeing it, you’re sure to pay close attention to the road on your drive home.

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