The Midnight Matinee – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

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The Midnight Matinee - Title Card

As long as you see the works of The Midnight Matinee like student films, you’ll enjoy the potential of most of them.


Director(s) Justin Doescher
Writer(s) Justin Doescher
Noted Actor(s)
Jennifer Sophie Edwards
Maggie Becky Edwards
Frances Melissa Merry

Note: I did not get this for free, but was asked to view it by Justin Doescher (It is free for Amazon Prime members).


Summary

Within the 5 short films that make up Midnight Matinee, you get one dealing with a couple taking a fishing trip; a revenge plot; this really cool one about this child having a decades ahead premonition; a clown horror story; and one which just deals with this guy getting tricked by a supposed blind woman. Altogether, what you get is a diverse depiction of what auteur Justin Doescher can produce.

Highlights

Film 3 – Premonition & Film 4 — Frances

The Midnight Matinee - Melissa Merry - Frances
Frances – Melissa Merry

In Premonition and Frances, we get two shorts which honestly could work as full-length films. In Premonition, we meet Jennifer, an 8-year old who dreams of horrible future events. Be it a fire at her school, as well as multiple people’s avoidable demises. Which, if expanded, could lead to something very interesting. Especially since her younger sister Maggie, who outlived Jennifer, discovers Jennifer’s abilities decades later through a VHS tape. So imagine her learning more and more about the stuff Jennifer prevented, or tried to, and then learning there was a tape with her name on it?

Then with Frances, you get something which is kind of genius – a blind person working for a mob organization. Can you imagine? They can’t see anyone so how can they snitch? It is the type of idea only those in auteur Doescher’s position could ever come up with. Especially considering his work as an actor and I’m sure listening into ideas others have had and maybe thinking, “let me show you something which could be really cool.”

On The Fence

The Majority of the Shorts Seemingly Are Just For Gaining Experience

The Midnight Matinee - Premonition - Becky Edwards
Premonition – Becky Edwards

When watching the series of shorts, I think you need to not watch them thinking just because they are on a website like Amazon that means they have a real budget. What we get here is a sort of “Learning on the job and showing my range” type of production. Something you can see in Open Sea which starts off like a cute romance film before it makes a very odd turn. You can also see potential in Let Go, dealing with this kind of bizarre dating website which seemingly allows for some kind of revenge.

But then there is Night Night. Now, when Doescher has horror/thriller elements but isn’t dedicated solely to the horror genre, you see something in his productions. However, with Night Night, it is hard to not just look at the time remaining and be glad it is over after that. For the whole kid being afraid of clowns thing, while still a rather relevant fear, it is just executed in such a way which reminds you why the horror genre is floundering.

Overall: Mixed

What we are given with Midnight Matinee is largely a taste of what Doescher is capable of. Almost like he is pitching us various potential stories and all he is waiting for is the feedback to know which to dive into. And, for the most part, you can see something in nearly every piece. Some, of course, are stronger than others, but taking note of what likely was the budget for making these shorts, you have to be a bit impressed with the end result. Well, except for Night Night. I would refuse to watch a full-length version of that.

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Author: Amari Sali

New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

An avid writer, Amari hopes to eventually switch from talking about other people’s productions to fully working on his own. Such a dream is in progress to becoming reality.

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