Blu-rays Review: Midnight Man & Devil’s Gate

During the summer months, it’s good to have a couple of scary films at home for those nights when it’s just nasty hot, humid or downpouring outside. Maybe you can’t get a babysitter. Or perhaps the cops have raided your favorite cockfighting arena. Whatever the reason, you are probably looking for movies that Doug in district processing can’t ruin in the elevator like he did for Get Out and Quiet Place. Luckily the partnership between IFC Midnight and Scream Factory provides films that maintain their spookablilty in your house. The Midnight Man and Devil’s Gate are two films that frighten without going all over the place.

The Midnight Man opens in the ’50s when three kids appear to be playing a strange game in an attic. It involves candles and a circle of salt. But they aren’t playing alone. There’s a strange being lurking in the shadows that’s scaring the kids. They complain that the lurker isn’t playing by the rules. Whatever this thing is, he tears apart one scared girl and makes another boy explode outside the house in the snowy night. Only one little girl survived. And that brings us to present day when the little girl has grown up to a grandmother (Insidious‘s Lin Shaye) who needs to be taken care by her granddaughter (13 Reasons Why‘s Gabrielle Haugh). One wintry night grandma wants something from the attic, Alex goes looking when her boyfriend pops by the place. The two uncover a strange game that plays on children’s fears. If they follow the ritual, The Midnight Man is supposed to be arrive in the darkness. Two just decide to go through with the game and summon the horrifying creature that will terrorize them for the next three hours and thirty three minutes. The fact that the two teenagers start the game with only half of the directions and items missing in the box makes complete sense. It’s like when you pull out a board game at a beach house and it’s missing half the junk in the box. Do you put it back or roll dice and move what remains of the mice? The grandmother is so diabolical as the night gets more frightening. Truly does remind you that old people who remain in a house where quite a few people have died should never be trusted. Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) puts in a fine performance as an elderly doctor who claims he survived the game, but maybe he’s in cahoots with the Midnight Man. The films is a remake of an Irish horror film which is part of the Blu-ray. The cast and effects have been expanded for the American remake.

Devil’s Gate pulls off the plot switcheroo in a tale of something horrifying happening in North Dakota. FBI Agent Daria Francis (12 Monkeys‘s Amanda Schull) flies into the community of Devil’s Gate to find out what happened to a missing mother and son. The town’s sheriff (Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Jonathan Frakes) thinks she’s wasting their time since they probably just ran off to the big city or something. She wants to visit the father (This Is Us‘s Milo Ventimiglia) to double check. Sheriff thinks it’s a dead end. Viewers will know that something is up at the father’s farm since a man looking for help met a grizzly death near the farm house. Seems like this is going to be an Ed Gein mystery. But when Francis arrives with Deputy Colt Salter (X-Men‘s Shawn Ashmore), they discover the farm has been transformed for the previous visit into a rather fortress place. Colt thinks the FBI Agent might be onto something. But the farmer is more than killing and kidnapping people. He’s got a serious secret trapped in cellar that leads this investigation to beyond the stars and a family’s darkest secret. Devil’s Gate plays like a really good X-Files movie minus any speculating. The cast comes off well as things unravel. The monsters that arrive are rather frightening and the special effect of a sound blasting off a guy’s chest is good and gross.

Even though The Midnight Man and Devil’s Gate are sold separately, they play well as a double feature. They both are pretty much based off a single piece of real estate. The small roles from iconic stars are effective although end in different ways. The effects are shockingly good and play fine on a larger HDTV set. After seeing these films, you’ll want to Doug to know the shocking endings.

The video is 2.40:1 anamorphic for both films. The 1080p transfer brings out the textures of the scary monsters. Audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and stereo for the films. You will hear bumps all over the room. The movies are subtitled.

DVD with the movie is included with Devil’s Gate.

The Midnight Man the Irish version from 2013 is on The Midnight Man. It was a little more barebone than the remake.

Trailers are included for both films.

Scream Factory presents The Midnight Man. Directed by: Travis Zariwny. Screenplay by: Travis Zariwny . Starring: Gabrielle Haugh, Grayson Gabriel, Lin Shaye and Robert Englund. Rated: Not. Running Time: 93 minutes. Released: June 5, 2018.

Scream Factory presents Devil’s Gate. Directed by: Clay Staub. Screenplay by: Peter Aperlo & Clay Staub. Starring: Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Schull, Bridget Regan and Jonathan Frakes. Rated: Not. Running Time: 94 minutes. Released: June 5, 2018.

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