Midnight Mass

May 22nd, 2012 by Perfesser Deviant

Midnight Mass   Midnight Mass poster 84x120 reviews horror Director: Tony Mandile
: Tony Mandile & F. Paul Wilson
Release Year
: 2003

I Am (a guy who worships a) Legend

In a world overwhelmed by legions of vampires, atheist Gwen Waters (Pamela Karp) seeks out the former priest of her town – Father Joe Cahill (Douglas Gibson) – for help. The two of them work their way back to the town across a newly post-apocalyptic landscape to deal with the local head vampire, Father Alberto Palmeri (Marvin W. Schwartz). Unusual to say the least….

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(Spoilers follow…)

The conflict between the characters is pretty interesting and a bit better done than usual. Gwen and Father Joe didn’t get along before the vampires showed up, but become allies when things get rough. Both are shown to be strong-willed and proud, so they naturally don’t get along, but, neither is stupid either, so they do their best to survive in a hostile world. Often, in movies, when things go bad, people refuse to cooperate to survive, this one is a bit different; old problems are tossed aside and they work together to fight off the nasties. Especially problematic is how Father Joe doesn’t want to return because the town turned against him because of a pedophile scandal, which he denies is true. Still, he’s helped by Carl Edwards (David Dwyer) and his daughter ‘Mickey’ Edwards (Mariana Matthews) who were former parishioners.

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Unlike most vampire movies – aside from Blade and some versions of Dracula – these vampires make extensive use of human servants. Now, it’s not uncommon for vampires to have a day-man or something similar, but some thought went into this one. The servants are called ‘Vichys’ after the French Vichy puppet government that answered to Hitler during WWII. The vampires in this film aren’t the all-powerful monsters that we usually get, but are predators that are weakened by a lack of prey. This makes them more vulnerable and, thus, more human, than usual. I like this.

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Most post-apocalyptic films take place many years after the event, this one is just a year later. This small change makes the film have a different feel from the usual as nothing is decayed or devastated, it just looks like people went away for awhile. In a way, it’s lonelier and gives this one an edge that’s usually lacking – very similar to 28 Days Later – and, even though it was done for budgetary reasons, it makes the film that much better.

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When horrible things happen, a lot of people lose their faith. In this one, a former priest is an evil monster while the other (kind of former) priest is a hero. What’s interesting is that the altar in the defiled church that the community cleans up miraculously begins glowing with the light of the sun, which proves that, beyond the vampires, there’s a supernatural power interested in the outcome of everything. So, with the help of God, a moral atheist, and a disgraced priest, victory is theirs. Neat, huh?


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