The mind-bending, allegorical comedic horror film, Ten Minutes To Midnight, follows radio DJ Amy Marlowe (Caroline Williams) for her last night on the air. The thing is, she just does not know it yet, as the station manager, Robert (William Youmans), never informed her that her “shadow” for tonight’s broadcast, the fresh out of college Sienna (Nicole Kang), is actually going to be her replacement. Mind you, Amy is smart and does figure out and is understandably upset.
She then begins to see her co-workers mutilate themselves in bloody ways. Aaron (Adam Weppler), the audio technician, gets his throat cut, and Sienna’s face contorts into something horrific. Is what Amy’s seeing real? Or is she hallucinating after being bit by a bat? Did the DJ snap due to the way she learned she was being let go?
“…follows radio DJ Amy Marlowe for her last night on the air…she then begins to see her co-workers mutilate themselves…”
Directed by Erik Bloomquist, and co-written with his brother Carson, Ten Minutes To Midnight is, style-wise, a completely different beast than the intense thrills of Long Lost or the romantic drama of Intermedium. This plays out like his homage to the early works of Sam Rami and Peter Jackson, replete with all the lunacy, fun, and blood that implies. Whereas his feature-length debut had several long, steady takes with odd things happening in the background, slowly building up the tension (which absolutely works for that story), this has a fast-paced punk/ grunge aesthetic that highlights just how versatile and creative the up-and-coming director truly is.
The scene where Amy is introduced to Sienna plays out calm but uneasy. The camera slowly glides across the room, visually showing the gulf between the aging lady and her employer, as she remains far from the desk, in the doorway. Then, when the killings begin (if they are real), the editing, by the director and his brother again, becomes very in-your-face and intentionally a bit confusing. In one particularly harrowing and over-the-top moment, Aaron is in the kitchenette area, talking to Amy, and he accidentally puts his hand on the boiling tea kettle. Amy gets so discombobulated here that she smashes her face onto the still-hot burner in solidarity and immense feelings of guilt. The camera moves with her as her face hits the stovetop, only for an edit to call into question whether she or Aaron, are actually hurt. It is both icky, in the best possible way and fraught, as well as a little bit funny. The entirety of Ten Minutes To Midnight is filled with such darkly funny and grotesque moments.
"…a heartfelt send-off to an actor who left us too soon."