Ten Minutes to Midnight Movie Review

Written by Joel Harley

Released by Mainframe Pictures


Directed by Erik Bloomquist
Written by Erik Bloomquist and Carson Bloomquist
2020, 73 minutes, Not Yet Rated
UK Grimmfest Premiere on October 11th 2020

Caroline Williams as Amy Marlowe
Nicole Kang as Sienna 
Nicholas Tucci as Ernie
William Youmans as Robert 


Sound familiar? A late-night radio jockey played by Caroline Williams finds herself caught in a desperate fight for survival when the radio station is attacked by a bloodthirsty monster. There’s not a chainsaw massacre in sight here though; and it’s Williams herself who’s the threat for a change. Or... is she? The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 star plays radio host Amy Marlowe, who begins to lose her mind after being bitten by a rabid bat.

What purports to be an unsophisticated gore flick turns out to be anything but in Erik Boomquist’s Ten Minutes to Midnight. Although it does not skimp on the vampire fangs and bloody gore gags, this trippy little horror film is anything but unsophisticated. Psych-out fantasy sequences are nothing new of course, and while it’s hard to keep track of what’s supposed to be reality and what isn’t (just imagine how poor Amy feels), these are more than just cheap tricks. The frequent in-and-out between fantasy and reality is integral to the story, similar to Castle Rock’s Sissy Spacek special. 

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Still, Bloomquist does promise a certain level of the old gore and ultraviolence, and this the film delivers on in spades too. Her mind in a state of delirium after a bat bite and infuriated by her own unexpected retirement - thanks to a hot new replacement, Sienna - Amy begins to see her co-workers mutilating themselves; throats are cut, bodies are contorted and a man gets up close and personal with a red-hot kettle. Is this fantasy? Reality? Not even Amy herself can be sure, but the film commits to its Peter Jackson-esque splatter, both real and not. The CGI blood is a letdown, but the film otherwise looks great – low-fi and grungy in all of the right places.

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The star of the show however, is quite literally Caroline Williams as Amy Marlowe. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 star has been doing great genre work for years now, but remains an underrated screen presence. Ten Minutes to Midnight is a great showcase for the actress’s range and talents, leaving viewers wondering why she remains so underutilized, even within horror cinema. Sure, we all love Hatchet 3, but it’s even better to see Williams get a vehicle of her own, especially one that’s as fun and innovative as this.

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Ten Minutes to Midnight is more than the low-budget grindhouse horror fans might have expected – while still bringing the low-budget grindhouse goods. This trippy, smart little horror film marks Bloomquist as one to watch; and Caroline Williams as another we should have been watching all along.


Movie: 4 Star Rating Cover

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Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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