Boasting an ensemble cast of both known actors and genre familiars including Bill Moseley and William Baldwin to name but two, Christopher Ray’s ‘Minutes to Midnight’ is a solid, if a somewhat by-the-numbers slasher movie.
The Synopsis: “What happens when a night of fun turns into a night of horror? Seven friends and a mysterious backpacker converge at a desolate ski lodge in the mountains and as the clock begins the countdown to the New Year, they discover that the end of the old year may be the end of all their years as they are systematically hunted down by ruthless masked men with a deadly agenda.”
So, the checklist of slasher necessities begins, and that’s fine by me, so long as the bodies quickly pile up and I get to see some good gore, I couldn’t care less where the cabin is located, and who is frequenting it. Just as well really, because this slasher does little to establish its identify from its array of characters, aside from some sex scenes, some party scenes and some screaming the characters are generic but serve a purpose; prey to not one, but three lunatics. The script is passable, the plot predicable, and all other technical elements give the film a more professional look than most comparison films I come across these days. That said, some of the action takes place in some very underlit shots, aside from shiny blackness (which one assumes to be blood) and screaming blackness (assumedly where the blood is coming from), its often difficult to see what’s going on. It’s a little distracting but not detracting.
Speaking of blood…
This is where ‘Minutes to Midnight’ begins to come into its own. The slasher killers (as is a reoccurring theme with this film) don’t stand out from any other of the genres most murderous icons, but hell, there are three of them! One makes body parts of victims into weapons, one is Bill Mosely aka Otis from Rob Zombie’s ‘House of 1000 Corpses’ and the other looks like Mileena from Mortal Kombat. The marketing makes the film look like its could be a home invasion style thriller – emphasising ‘The Strangers’ elements, but honestly these guys are slasher stalkers through and through. The gore in this film is strong, gratifyingly so. The effects look great (when they come out of the shadows into the open) and this is certainly a movie which is likely to gross-out those uninitiated. I love this type of slasher, the campy funny ones are ok, but sometimes you just want to kick back with a cold one and watch a group of people having a worse time in life than you – don’t you?!
This film will satiate any slasher fans need for blood, rest assured!
Overall, this is a solid slasher movie, but almost too typical from some respects for me to get that excited about. Its violent, with antagonists that look the part, and characters that do their part in dying well; but then there are loads of films which fit that particular bill. Still, if you’re looking for another solid entry to sit alongside your undoubtably large collection ‘Minutes to Midnight’ – It’s a slasher movie, and I enjoyed it.