MIDNIGHT (2021)

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midnight bluray

MIDNIGHT (2021)
Directed by Oh-Seung Kwon
Korean Language with English Subtitles
Available on Blu-Ray

A deaf young woman named Kyung-mi becomes the target of a mysterious serial killer prowling the streets at night. When she accidentally comes across one of his victims, she becomes the next on his hit list and must do everything in her power to survive the cat-and-mouse chase he has planned for her.

South Korean thriller MIDNIGHT is an extraordinarily tense affair with the lives of multiple characters in the palm of one psychotic madman’s hand. Littered with twists and turns, the film relentlessly keeps you on its toes as we watch the underhanded, scheming mass murderer Do-Sik at work. With one woman’s life hanging in the balance, who’s burly brother is beside himself with worry looking for her, and the lives of two other innocent women in his grasp, Do-Sik is like a kid in a candy store, but will he be able to out smart everyone to inflate his kill list?

Do-Sik, however determined, has not chosen an easy victim in Kyung-mi though. She’s not one to take things lying down and will fight til her last breathe. Perhaps her resilience is down to having to deal with daily struggles related to her lack of hearing, such as the attitudes and prejudice she faces at work, and managing certain risks that present themselves. A fine representation of this is when we see her mother, who’s also hearing-impaired, approaching from an alleyway. Waiting in the car for her, Kyung-mi notices the sound display on her car dashboard light up, indicating that significantly loud noise is present. This alerts her to look around, and she sees a scooter or motorcycle rider travelling down the pavement. She spots this and alerts her mother, who fortunately narrowly misses being hit by it. Dangers like these are everywhere for deaf people. Watching as a person who has their full hearing, it’s shocking how many things you take for granted as risks are highlighted that I would never have thought about before. I would say that Kyung-mi is more alert as a character than a person with hearing would be, so despite there being challenges due to her disability, she works around them with pure grit, determination and astuteness.

In MIDNIGHT, the director Oh-Seung Kwon likes to put us in the shoes of protagonist and chosen victim, Kyung-mi, by allowing us to experience scenes how her and her mother would be – in complete silence. This relies on the viewer to seek out visual clues as to how Kyung-mi and her mum should proceed. This also ramps up the tension as all audio cues are gone out of the window, and you don’t know when the demented Do-Sik may strike again.

The lead actress, Ki-joo Jin, is absolutely fantastic in her role as Kyung-mi, showing great agility and genius in a role that relies more on physicality and visual emotion to portray the anguish, fear and determination of the character. Wi Ha-Joon, who you may know from Squid Game and Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, presents a subtly unhinged performance as Do-Sik, a guy who appears on the surface to be just a typical young man but can instantly flip into this scheming, deceptive murderer, who’s fractured mind knows no bounds. Together, they make a great opposition, with Kyung-mi’s resilience and survival instincts the power needed to play off Do-Sik’s psychopathic killer.

Mainly set in the outskirts of the city, the neon-filled, night time shots of the aptly named MIDNIGHT add a menace to this intense thriller. With two of the main characters being deaf, there’s an extra dimension of panic and alertness as they must rely on their other senses to figure out the truth and survive the games Do-Sik has in store. A scene in a police station is so nail-biting you could cut the tension with a knife, whilst numerous chase sequences through the uphill streets and a multi-storey carpark are exhilarating and frightening in equal measure. When the action rolls into the heart of the city, the luminosity and packed streets may be in harsh contrast to the dark, secluded outskirts, but it’s nevertheless heart-thumping as Do-Sik adjusts his strategy accordingly.

Incredibly stylish with a pace that never seems to let you relax for one moment, MIDNIGHT is a relentless, nail-biting cat-and-mouse thriller.

Rating: ★★★★☆

About Bat 8055 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Webbed.

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