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Killing Midnight (1997)

| Thriller
A series of killings copy that of the plot of a writer's very first novel. A neighbor of novelist William Rhodes (Ryan Alosio) is found dead near his boat in the same way as the murder described in the authors book "Killing Midnight."

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(as Alexander J. Dorsey)
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Credited cast:
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William Rhodes
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Toni Rossano
Karen M. Waldron ...
Gina (as Karen Mistal)
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Professor Mort Sang
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joe Dorsey ...
Anthony Chambers
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A series of killings copy that of the plot of a writer's very first novel. A neighbor of novelist William Rhodes (Ryan Alosio) is found dead near his boat in the same way as the murder described in the authors book "Killing Midnight."

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independent film | See All (1) »

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Thriller

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Asesinato a medianoche  »

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Poorly Assembled Work Eliminates Chances For Creating Suspense.
23 November 2005 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See all my reviews

After a neighbour of author William Rhodes (Ryan Alosio) in the San Pedro (Los Angeles) Harbor marina where they live is murdered by a bizarre method similar to that suffered by a victim in a best-selling first novel by Rhodes, a homicide detective attempts to link him with the crime as a suspect. Rhodes, whose home is a boat named "Writer's Block", a condition that he has developed while working upon his second novel, is open to a suggestion by his agent that he meet with a friend of hers, former private investigator and current professor of criminology Mort Sang (Mickey Rooney), in an effort to raise the barriers to his creative impulses, and he visits Sang, at which time the two discuss serial killers with the professor, an authority upon the grisly subject, informing the young author that his offer of assistance to the FBI was summarily refused. This FBI connection is not again referred to in this somewhat continuity resistant work (despite the successful novel "Killing Midnight" by Rhodes that depicts a serial murderer who eludes the Bureau for ten years) while William seeks fresh vitality with a romance he begins with Gina (Karen Mistal), his agent's personal assistant. The pace of the film thereby slows, but it hardly seems important as a viewer enjoys a colourful Christmas boat parade, while the amourous activity of the lovers brings about a temporary shift in the narrative's mood, although a purportedly mute and mysterious individual named Anthony Chambers (Joe Dorsey) moves into a nearby slip, subsequently luring with apparent evil intent the strangely reappearing Professor Sang aboard his vessel with offerings of whiskey, the criminologist unaccountably clad in a Santa Claus suit. During the meeting between Rhodes and Sang in the criminologist's office, the latter had spoken of a still-at-large southern U.S.A. based "Tickle Creek Killer", and therefore a viewer is not unduly surprised when it is determined that Chambers is that person and, worse, is certain to cause survival difficulties for William and Gina. The no longer speechless Chambers tells Rhodes, while plying him with drink as he did Sang, that his wife and young daughter, while the Chambers family was asea, were eaten by sharks, this gruesome tale obviously a justification to him for his murderous assaults after he returned to dry land, but the befuddled William has difficulty in concentrating upon the story because of his heavy imbibing. This loss of self-control by Rhodes is triggered by a misunderstanding that he has created following a telephonic conversation with his agent, resulting in his curtly breaking off relations with Gina. However, after she falls into the hands of mad Chambers, William discovers that he still loves her and that he will have to be very fortunate indeed if he expects to rescue her. It is pleasing that a veteran character player such as the 72 year old Joe Dorsey receives top billing, even if it be for a film developed, written and directed by his family members, but this capable actor lacks needed direction in this low budget and below standard attempt at making a thriller, and his frequent bursts of maniacal laughter become wearing and eventually comical. Lack of originality in the dialogue hampers him as well as it does the remainder of the small cast; however, Mistal, seldom seen in a part that requires actual acting, is quite impressive here in creating a believable role. The mentioned weakness in direction, when coupled with a palsied script that emphasizes sadism and general atmospheric effects at the expense of those elements necessary to generate suspense, are harmful to this effort, although camera-work is at times creative, even with an emphasis upon closeups of the characters. The film suffers most damage by having too many loose ends in the screenplay, forcing a viewer to simply imagine whereas logic should point the way.


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