A busload of strangers seemingly become the last humans on Earth after an unexplained apocalyptic event erases all signs of human life in this midnight movie blowout from Hong Kong cult director Fruit Chan. As the group of survivors explore the city and propose theories on what happened, they begin to realize that without laws or rules, the biggest threat they could be facing is themselves.
Huge shots of the empty streets of Tai Po show off some serious production value, but it’s the use of mixed source lighting that impresses the most. Fluorescents and street lights desaturate and add grit to the image while the neon lights of Hong Kong push through with vivid pinks, blues, and reds.
The empty street photography is impressive and proves no desired shot was left out due to budget constraints. B-movie gore effects and tons of wild touches (a character spits nut casings into the camera lens at one point) make this a perfect addition to the After Dark competition at the Chicago International Film Festival, but I’m not sure how it would fit in with a wider release to the unsuspecting public.
A sagging stretch of dialogue (and an insane, random break for a character to sing Bowie’s “Space Oddity”) pads the runtime unnecessarily to two hours, but “The Midnight After” will be a ton of fun at any late night showing with a packed audience.
6.5 out of 10 pointsReturn to CIFF 2014 Coverage
Cantonese, Japanese, English
2 hr. 4 min.
Comedy, Mystery, Thriller
You-Nam Wong, Janice Man, Simon Yam, Kara Hui, Tien You Chui, Suet Lam, Goo-Bi GC, Shing-Cheung Lee, Sam Lee, Cherry Ngan