Home > After Midnight - 6 > After Midnight – 6

After Midnight – 6


Director – Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat

Cast – Ramy Zada, Judie Aronson, Marg Helgenberger, Marc McClure, Monique Salcido, Ed Monaghan, Alan Rosenberg, Pamela Adlon, Penelope Sudrow, Nadine Van der Velde, Tracy Wells, Jillian McWhirter, Jordana Capra

Release Year – 1989

Reviewed by John of the Dead

After Midnight is a film that was on my queue for a really long time, but the poster looked silly and the plot summary I read did not interest me very much(it was far from accurate), so naturally I felt this would be a lame watch – THEN I learned this film is not merely a horror film, but an anthology. My love for horror anthologies is like no other, and it was that revelation that lead me to finally giving this flick a watch, and for the most part I found joy in this piece, but sadly I was also let down. The horror is there, and the feel is great, but the horror lacks shock value and never delivers a punch or kick to the face, but instead passes you by without even a mean look.

When an unorthodox psychology professor is reprimanded for his unfavorable teaching style, he invites willing students to attend an off-the-record study group at his home where they are subjected to true fear via three heinous stories based on true events.

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the anthology template, where we are given a prologue followed by three short stories and then the closing sequence, essentially providing us with four horror movies in a 90 minute effort. It’s hard to get much more horror than that, and that is why I love horror anthologies. This one starts off very well, throwing us into the diabolical world the professor lives in, exposing us to his bizarre and cruel teaching habits by ridiculing a student in front of his classmates in an effort to show him what real fear feels like. Soon enough we find ourselves at the professor’s home with a select few students brave/curious/stupid enough to endure what he has planned, and that is when the anthology begins.

The first story follows a married couple out celebrating the husbands birthday and find themselves stranded on the side of the road next to an old mansion with a troubling past. Desperation kicks in and they are forced to break into the home to seek help, and that is when the horror ensues. This was definitely my favorite story in the anthology and it provided the most real horror in my opinion, but even then the horror was not that great, although I did really enjoy the climax.

Next up we follow four young girls out for a night on the town who stupidly run into car issues and a psychotic killer who takes advantage of their moronic misfortune. I really did not think this entry should have sufficed for the horror genre given it did not consist of anything really scary, with most of the scares dealing with the creepy guy and his dogs that eternally chase the young girls, building up to a lame climax that bled pretty not no horror whatsoever.

Finally the last story told is about a woman working for an answering service who suffers a stalker’s non-stop calling, which eventually turns into a cat-and-mouse game when the killer makes his way to the building she works at. We watch as he toys with her and his former stalking interest, who he offs quickly and efficiently, and as the story progresses we are given some good tension that builds to a satisfying climax in what was equally a story just as good as the first.

Of course, the wraparound story is its own, and it has to do with the revenge sought by the student the professor ridiculed the day before. I personally felt that this sequence could have been much better and played off very cliché and predictable, and for a flick that had some decent positives it was sad to see it end on a decline after the enjoyable final story.

Brothers Jim and Ken Wheat (Writers: Pitch Black, The Silent Scream, The Fly II, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master) both wrote and directed this anthology, and while their writing had its highs and lows their direction was fairly good for the most part. The first and third stories gave us great direction and resulted in the best horror the film could provide, and while their direction was decent on the second story and the wraparound it was the stories themselves that held back the direction. We get positive acting from mostly everyone involved, and the musical score did well in providing good atmosphere, especially for the first and third stories.

Overall, After Midnight is a decent horror anthology that could have done much more in the end despite a few good horror stories that at best should have still provided more horror. With two of the stories good and the other two pretty poor this one is a flick I can’t recommend outright, but if you have nothing better to do it may be worthy of passing time thanks to good direction at times.

Rating: 6/10

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  1. Jillian McWhirter
    February 26, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Thanks for watching and writing about the film John! It was great fun!
    Jillian McWhirter

    • February 26, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Thanks Jillian, or should I say…Allison. Haha.

  2. March 6, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Well this went into my Netflix queue straightaway. Looking forward to it!

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