Caroline Williams Grows Fangs

Erik Bloomquist’s Ten Minutes To Midnight is a b-movie vampire flick with a playful sense of humor and enough frights to keep viewers happy. Most checking out the movie will be doing so for saucy star Caroline Williams, skillfully playing a veteran radio DJ on the verge of losing her job to a much younger woman. Having appeared in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and a litany of other b-movie horror projects over the past three decades, she’s established a small but healthy following in genre circles.

Ten Minutes To Midnight has little fat in its lean and often surprising narrative, clocking in at a slightly padded 72-minutes in total. Popular radio DJ Amy Marlowe (Caroline Williams) is checking in at the radio station for her regular late-night shift when she’s bitten by a vampire bat. Soon after she’s blindsided with bad news by her lecherous boss, Bob (William Youmans).

Ten Minutes To Midnight works for old-school fans of ’80s and ’90s horror largely thanks to Caroline Williams

This will be Amy’s last night on the air after thirty years of service, replaced by a young up-and-coming talent named Sienna Walker (Nicole Kang from television’s Batwoman). She throws a fit about the sudden news, reacting badly. A storm rages outside the station, trapping the entire staff inside. Amy begins exhibiting signs the bite may be affecting her behavior and she becomes unpredictable. However, the show must go on as always. Mayhem ensues with a wild conclusion that may leave some viewers scratching their head.

There’s something here for all stripes of horror fans. Beyond the vamp action, the bloody conflict serves as an allegorical tale about a new employee replacing older staff and the peculiar dynamics of gender and age politics in the office. Amy regrets sleeping with Bob early in her career and now she fears Sienna is repeating her mistakes. There’s a light touch by Bloomquist and cast that goes a long way in the cheesy but occasionally shocking b-movie. A couple scenes are surprisingly bloody.

Ten Minutes To Midnight works for old-school fans of ’80s and ’90s horror largely thanks to Caroline Williams, but the story and characters are decent enough for any deserving horror fan. The creative risks aren’t always great. The final act takes a wild twist that probably doesn’t work out as well as Bloomquist hoped for in the unrated thriller. It’s a radical leap with cast members switching up which characters they play, undercutting the tension with a little too much comedy.

Video

The 1.85:1 presentation exhibits strong definition in clean clarity. Filmed with ARRI Amira cameras, the bright video lacks only refined shadow delineation and a few signs of unpolished video quality. The many close-ups display excellent texture and fine detail. There are no signs of video processing or ringing. Ten Minutes To Midnight isn’t a huge studio production but the digital cinematography is crisp with consistent lighting.

Distributed by MVD for newcomer Jinga Films, the main feature runs 72 minutes on a BD-25. The 1080P video has an adequate AVC encode with few glaring problems. The digital transfer looks good for an indie budget.

Audio

5.1 DTS-HD MA provides an appropriately discrete surround mix that rocks with attitude and offers an immersive atmosphere. Amy plays hard rock and metal as a radio host, thus the soundtrack features plenty of hard-driving tracks.

The raucous music fills up the front soundstage with depth and thunder. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced, balanced well with the horror sound effects and musical backing. The rear cues offer a lively experience with real bite.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a yellow font.

Extras

The Blu-ray is coded for all regions. I had major problems playing the short featurettes with an Oppo UHD player. They repeatedly locked up and wouldn’t allow me to view them in their entirety.

Audio Commentary – Director Erik Bloomquist, co-writer and producer Carson Bloomquist, and lead star Caroline Williams participate in this engaging group commentary. They discuss making the film together in friendly terms and Williams highlights which scenes she found most effective.

Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes (All in HD):

Take One

Immortality

Love Story

Memory Play

Grimoire Academy, Carnival Hall

Grimmfest Q&A

CT Style Live Interview

Popcorn Frights Introduction

Ten Minutes To Midnight Teaser (00:42 in SD)

Ten Minutes To Midnight Trailer (01:46 in HD)

Through The Shadow Trailer (02:01 in SD)

Face of the Devil Trailer (01:27 in SD)

Incarnation Trailer (02:02 in SD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Ten Minutes to Midnight
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

Movie

Scream Queen Caroline Williams headlines this creative vampire flick with attitude and a cheeky sense of humor.

Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 33 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: