Midnight – Review

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“Change your clothes if you don’t want to die,” said Jong-tak (Park Hoon) to his younger brother, Jung-eun (Kim Hye-yoon), who was going on a blind date. Of course, the threat was just a joke, as a form of concern for Jong-tak, who was worried that if Jung-eun went out at night wearing a miniskirt (or other revealing clothes), it would endanger her.

But in fact, on the way home, Jung-eun remains a victim of Do-sik (Wi Ha-joon), a serial killer who hunts every midnight from inside his van. Midnight shows that the rampant violence against women has nothing to do with the way they dress, but purely because of the cruelty of the perpetrators…..and perhaps the incompetence of the authorities in investigating the case. Top Movie Site

On the same night that Jung-eun went missing, Kyung-mi (Jin Ki-joo) was on her way home with her mother (Gil Hae-yeon). Both are dumb and deaf. Unfortunately for Kyung-mi, after finding Jung-eun covered in blood, it’s her and her mother’s turn to be Do-sik’s prey.

Written by the director, Kwon Oh-seung, Midnight will remind Hush (2016) by Mike Flanagan which carries a similar concept. The difference is, this film has a wider scale, action-oriented approach than atmospheric thrillers, and does not place the killer in the shadow of a mystery. From the very beginning we’ve seen Do-sik’s face, and spent quite a bit of time with him.

Bringing the audience to recognize the killer, gives “a sense of security” which actually reduces the horror. Terror by an unknown figure is indeed more gripping, and Kyung-mi’s use of voice detectors, which act as a signal several times for Do-sik’s presence, would be more effective in stoking tension if her figure was left mysterious. Best Movie

But on the other hand, that choice also allows the film to explore the character of Do-sik, portraying him as a manipulative killer, armed with not only muscles, but also brains and psychological tricks. Wi Ha-joon, who recently stole the show when playing a policeman in Squid Game, handled his role well, making it easy for the audience to hate him.

The creativity of the script holds the key, thanks to the success of coming up with interesting ideas so that the conflict continues to develop, not stagnate, even though the last 10 minutes are a bit forced (how could Jong-tak the tough ex-marine lose track of Do-sik in an instant?), and quite a lot the portion is still spent by chase scenes in narrow alleys that we have (too) often encountered in South Korean films and dramas.

The fact that there are two characters who are mute and deaf, also adds to the dynamics. Kyung-mi and the mother can communicate without Do-sik understand the details. Ki-joo appears solid as a woman who refuses to fly the white flag, while at the same time reluctant to make her physical condition a weakness. Likewise Hae-yeon, who throughout 2021 showcased a wide range of acting through different characters, including in Law School and Beyond Evil.

Midnight’s conclusion swayed the public’s tendency to distrust victims, especially if they had difficulty understanding due to their physical limitations. As a result, the victim must risk his life to be trusted. Throughout the film, several times we also witnessed, the perpetrators managed to escape precisely because of the incompetence of the authorities. Again, it’s not all about the way you dress. Movie Review

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