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Review: Ten Minutes To Midnight – “Fresh and fascinating”

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Released on VOD and all digital platforms on the 19th of January, Ten Minutes to Midnight stars horror legend Caroline Williams (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), is directed by Erik Bloomquist (Long Lost) and is written by Erik and Carson Bloomquist (The Cobblestone Corridor).

Rock DJ Amy Marlowe (Williams) has presented her ‘Ten Minutes to Midnight’ radio show for thirty years, but on the way in to present her last ever show is bitten by a rabid bat. Trapped inside the station for the night due to a massive storm outside, Amy finds herself not only dealing with a pair of puncture wounds on her neck but also having to show the ropes to the young whippersnapper who is replacing her.

During the course of her show, she contends with the memories of what she was put through by her boss to get the job in the first place, her tricky relationship with her young sound engineer, and the suspicious stake-sharpening security guard on the front desk. Angry, frustrated and trapped, she is driven to breaking point and in a moment of RAGE vamps out and attacks her co-workers before retreating to the women’s room to munch down used tampons.

But is Amy rabid? Or a vampire? Or could she simply have gone mad? Or even be dreaming? Over the swift run time of seventy-two minutes, you’ll cycle through thinking it could be any of the above as Bloomquist keeps up the tension by leaving you and Amy dangling and desperate for an answer while giving Williams the opportunity to face off against each of the cast in encounters that range from intriguing to grisly and goopy to slow pace killers.

Caroline Williams is an actor who is always interesting to watch and her performance in Ten Minutes to Midnight showcases exactly why. She never compromises, is absolutely fearless, holds nothing back and leaves everything out on the field in every fucking scene. A shoutout must also be given to the sadly now deceased Nicholas Tucci (You’re Next), who as Ernie the security guard is supremely cool and creepy with a playful performance that keeps Amy teetering and us wondering.

The makeup effects are suitably repellent and rad, the soundtrack rocks and Bloomquist’s direction is stylish. An extended flashback that shows us what Amy had to do as a twenty-something to get her job is done with a cool and smooth aspect ratio change illustrating the travelling back in time, and a really fun sequence where the actors play each others roles.

A nightmarish reflection on male power and workplace sexual abuse, as well as the fear of ageing and irrelevancy, that is delivered with plenty of gore and gross-out moments, an intriguing mystery and a stand-out stand-up-for lead performance from Caroline Williams, Ten Minutes to Midnight is fresh and fascinating in spite of some slow patches.

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