The Midnight After (a J!-ENT DVD Review)
June 19, 2016 by Dennis Amith
“The Midnight After” is a film for those who enjoy series such as “The Twilight Zone” and “LOST”. Those who enjoy horror comedies but also enjoy films that showcase the premise of a fear of the unknown. Filmmaker Fruit Chan is able to deliver an entertaining horror comedy with a message about modern society. Recommended!
© 2014 Golden Scene Company Limited. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: The Midnight After
FILM RELEASE DATE: 2014
DURATION: 121 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Widescreen, Cantonese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English and Chinese
COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment
RATED: Not Rated
AVAILABLE ON: July 5, 2016
Directed by Fruit Chan
Screenplay by Fai-Hung Chan, Fruit Chan, Ho-Yan Kong
Produced by Amy Chin
Executive Producer: Fruit Chan, Winnie Tsang
Associate Producer: Alex Tong
Music by Veronica Lee, Ellen Joyce Loo
Cinematography by Wah-Chuen Lam
Production Design by Lim Chung Man, Andrew Wong
Costume Design by Phoebe Wong
You-Nam Wong as You Zhi-chi
Janice Man as Yuki
Simon Yam as Wong Man-fah
Kara Hui as Mak Sau-ying
Tien You Chui as Shun
Suet Lam as Suet
Goo-bi GC as Pat
Shing-Cheung Lee as Bobby
Sam Lee as Blind Fai
Cherry Ngan as Yi, Chi-chi’s Girlfriend
Kin-Long Chan as Glu-Stick
Ronnie Yuen as Airplane
Melodee Mak as Lavina
Jan Curious as Auyeng Wai
Chui Tien-you as Shun
16 strangers on a bus. An apocalyptic accident. A downtown full of people: Vanished. The newly-dead: Instantly Decaying. Ominous glimpses of men in gas masks. What has happened to the world, and how far would you go to get your life back?
What would you do if everyone disappeared in the world and all that is left is you and sixteen other people you rode in the bus with?
From filmmaker Fruit Chan (“Made in Hong Kong”, “Three…Extremes”, “Hollywood Hong Kong”) comes his horror-comedy “The Midnight After”, an adaptation of a serialized web fiction titled “Lost on a Red Minibus to Tai-Po” by an anonymous writer known as Pizza and was published as a novel in 2012.
The film stars You-nam Wong (“Ip Man”, “Hollywood Hong Kong”, “Tiger & Dragon Reloaded”), Janice Man (“Nightfall”, “Helios”, “Punished”), Simon Yam (“Ip Man”, “Election”, “PTU”), Kara Hui (“Dragon”, “At the End of Daybreak”, “The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter”), Tien You Chui (“Contagion”, “At the End of Daybreak”, “After This Our Exile”), Suet Lam (“Kung Fu Hustle”, “PTU”, “Election”), Goo-Bi GC (“Exodus”, “Temporary Family”, “20 30 40”), Shing-Cheung Lee (“Journey to the West”, “CJ7”, “The Stool Pigeon”), Cherry Ngan (“The Way We Dance”, “Nightfall”, “Mojin – The Lost Legend”) and Sam Lee (“Made in Hong Kong”, “Ping Pong”, “Dog Bite Dog”).
“The Midnight After” revolves around 17 people who catch a late bus from Mong Kok to Tai Po.
This includes the driver (portrayed by Lam Suet), the elder Fat (portrayed by Simon Yam), the loverboy Yau Tsi-chi (portrayed by Wong You-nam), the worried about her boyfriend Yuki (portrayed by Janice Man), the music store manager Shun (portrayed by Chui Tien-you), the insurance salesperson/space zealot Mook Sau-ying (portrayed by Kara Hui), the otaku Auyeung Wai (portrayed by Jan Curious), the cocaine addict Blind Fai (portrayed by Sam Lee), soccer fans Pat (portrayed by Cheuk Wan-chi) and her husband Bobby (portrayed by Lee Sheung-ching), a woman named Lavina (portrayed by Melodee Mak) and two juvenile delinquents Airplane (portrayed by Ronnie Yuen) and Glu-stick (portrayed by Kelvin Chan) and four university students.
As each of them are riding the bus, as they go into a tunnel and come out, everyone tries to reach friends and love ones on their phone but no one is answering. Each call the police and no one answers.
Everyone starts to realize that there are no signs of cars or people, even of it’s late, the city is empty.
Worried about what may happen, each are determined to stay in touch with each other.
The first one let out of the bus are the four university students. As they get out, one is sick and the three try to get help but no one is alive or around.
As Yau Tsi-chi and Yuki leave, Yau keeps seeing a person wearing a gas mask and a vision of an evil Yuki with her hair flying all over the place.
Worried about his girlfriend, Yau Tsi-chi rides his bike all the way back to Kowloon but no one is at her place. All he finds is dust.
Meanwhile, as the students are unable to get help, they find their friend convulsing and later blowing up. Running away to get some help, the three see Yau Tsi-chi riding his bike, but as they run after him, the three end up turning into dust and exploding or shattering.
Everyone then receives a phone call of shrieking.
The surviving people who rode on the bus end up going to a restaurant and trying to figure out what has happened. Shun is able to deduct that the shrieking is actually a message in morse code. The phrases from the morse code happens to be give reference to the David Bowie song “Space Oddity”.
But what does the song happen to do with what is happening to the world?
And who of the surviving people on the bus will survive in the end?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“The Midnight After” is presented in 2:35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital. While I would have loved to watch the film in HD on Blu-ray, picture quality is good as one can expect on DVD. Audio is also very good considering all the action showcased in the film with good use of surround channels and LFE, especially its use in order to scare the audience.
Subtitles are in English and Chinese.
The only special features included is a trailer.
The two primary reasons that attracted me to watching “The Midnight After” is filmmaker Fruit Chan who strays away from traditional Hong Kong cinema and creating cinema that is different and original.
And the other reason is for actor Sam Lee, because any horror films that tend to star him tend to be a lot of fun and often crazy.
From “Bio-Zombie” and “Bio-Cops” and the fact that both Chan and Lee have collaborated before, needless to say, I couldn’t help but wonder what type of horror comedy that Fruit Chan had up his sleeve.
What we get is something that feels very “Twilight Zone” mixed with the popular American sci-fi drama series “Lost”.
A group of people who are very different from each other, now having to work together and survive and find out why the world has changed and why they are the only people alive.
Some wonder if it’s a virus like SARS and people have turned into zombies, others wonder if it was some sort of radiation or aliens. And the confusion intensifies with morse code that translates into lyrics from David Bowie’s hit 1969 song “Space Oddity” and a mysterious figure wearing a gas mask.
But its the sense of not knowing what is going on that helps propel the film to become interesting and seeing who survives and dies. Not just from whatever is out there killing them but also from the survivor’s own hands.
But underneath all the comedy and the jokes, leaving that aside, there is a message within the film that discusses various issues affecting people, from the lack of religious beliefs, economic downturn, lack of trust in the political system and other themes.
And as for the horror, one should not think of blood curdling horror but more of the fear of the unknown and also, how the survivors respond when one of their own commits an unforgivable crime. Also, give thanks to the use of sound and music in creating hair jumping fear for the viewer.
“The Midnight After” is a witty and entertaining film, but for those looking for a resolve, the film is one of those that requires for one to come up with answers for themselves. Nothing is clear cut.
As for the DVD, picture and audio quality is good, as one can expect on DVD, but wish this film was released on Blu-ray. And as for special features, there are none.
Overall, “The Midnight After” is a film for those who enjoy series such as “The Twilight Zone” and “LOST”. Those who enjoy horror comedies but also enjoy films that showcase the premise of a fear of the unknown. Filmmaker Fruit Chan is able to deliver an entertaining horror comedy with a message about modern society.
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