Movie Review-Minutes Past Midnight (DVD)

Review-Justin McConnell first hit my radar with the criminally underrated gem, “ The Collapsed”. Everyone hailed Justin as the next big breakout director. 6 years have passed and we are still singing his praises with “ Minutes Past Midnight”. Along with producer Avi Federgreen, they present an anthology of nine standalone short stories that will get you talking. The first story is called “ Never Tear Us Apart” Directed by Sid Zanforlin, this little short focuses on two hikers who are on a journey that brings them to an abandoned shack in the forest inhabited by a strange couple. This short is the perfect way to get the party going. The dark comic tone to this short helps the horror feel more effective. The way this short makes you feel, will be the meter to the rest of this dvd. The next short is a cheat. “ Awake” I have originally seen before. Director Francisco Sonic Kim clearly has issues that need to be addressed. This one focuses on a kid who has an odd obsession. I want to say more, but the beauty is the element of surprise and this short packs a hell of a punch and is going to get people talking. The 3rd short is called “ Crazy For You”. Directed by James Moran, this one is another dark comic gem. We have a serial killer who hates polka dots. He is so obsessed with his hate of dots, that he kills anyone who has them. His life seems to change when he meets Hannah. It is love at first sight. This short is like the adage of the young frog who helps the dying snake. The snake sees the frog as someone who can help him, and the frog sees the snake as someone he can make something other than a snake. Sad to say, the adage and this short have the same underlying meaning. It is the 4th short that I was not a fan of. “ The Mill at Calder’s End” showcases puppetry. It is the story of an ancient curse that we watch some puppets fight to remove. I just could not get into this short. The 5th short and the money short…this one is a cheat as well. Ryan Lightbourn, i have had a few talks with thru the years, and sadly his feature length films have yet to capture the fun of his short, “ Roid Rage”. I know this was my best short of 2010 and 2011. I know many other critics have followed suit. This one is about absurdity and insanity. This one is a gross out fun fist fucking experience.

The last four are going to be out of order, but I have to talk about “ Horrific”, the ending short. If you are a fan of “ Ash vs The Evil Dead”, this short is for you. Director Robert Boocheck has created a fucking up white trash gore fun fest that the less you know going into it, the more you will appreciate it. This one is going to make you want to call your friends and loved ones, to watch it as you watch it again. If you are a fan of films like “ Donnie Darko”, “ Timothy” by director Mark Martinez Jordan will be up your alley. Timothy is the rabbit hero of a children show that young Simon has been watching when his babysitter insists he goes to bed. Well, the rabbit decides to come over to the house and see what can happen. This one is odd, unique and fucking brilliant. If you feel all horror is cliche and that nothing tries anymore, this short (along with most of the others) will show you differently. Lee Cronin has tapped into something. “ Ghost Train” is that short that you wish was longer and had a budget. A genius idea of two brothers who reunite at the abandoned amusement park, where we learn that something happened to their boyhood friend named Sam. Genius, clever and outside the box are only the start to what this short shares. It felt like in a odd way of watching “ Cocoon” on a crack high if Robert Zemeckis directed it. “ Feeder” directed by Christian Rivers showcases the struggle of musician to reality. The price we pay for the gift of inspiration. This short is smart but yet very realistic in a odd way. The dark tone of this short really makes the viewer always guess and second guess what they witness or assume will happen. Very smart work and yet did not feel like just another short of a tape of shorts. It stood out like the others in a way that you feel you just started watching the film, when this short started. As a whole, this is one of the better anthologies out there. The people behind the camera of each short are super talented and very ambitious. I liked this more than the last two V/H/S films and all the ABC’s. This was creatively genius in the way each short had a personality all its own. Beside the Puppets, all the other shorts were very well done. I laughed, I was scared and most of all I had a blast.

8.5 out of 10