When his girlfriend suddenly disappears, leaving a cryptic note as her only explanation, Hank’s comfortable life and his sanity begin to crack. Then, from the woods surrounding his house, something terrible starts trying to break in.

Cast:  Jeremy Gardner, Brea Grant, Henry Zebrowski, Justin Benson, Ashley Song

Directors: Jeremy Gardner, Christian Stella
Writers: Jeremy Gardner

In the backwater, middle of nowhere Florida, Hank has managed to woo the love of his life, Abby. For ten years they’ve lived a happy life together, until she up and disappears one morning. Without any sign of where she may have gone, Hank now finds himself searching for answers, and to make things worse; there’s a monster scratching on his door every night after the clock strikes twelve.

Don’t let the poster for After Midnight lead you to believe this is a monster movie as this is a romance first and foremost, with a creature-feature angle entwined. Not a complaint of mine, but I know how horror fans get online. 


As the film first introduced us to Hank (Jeremy Gardner) and Abby (Brea Grant), it’s on their first trip to Hanks family home, on Abby’s birthday. They are starstruck lovers. Hank is doing his best to woo her and Abby is visible enamoured by the man. The film plays with your expectations in these opening moments, almost joking towards to audience. Abby references the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in a joke about the big, lonely house, but nothing comes of it. With the loud sound of a shotgun fired we’re violently whipped to modern day where Hank has just shot into his front door—attempting to fight off a creature. His face now sports a beard, and visibly he looks nothing like the man we were just introduced to minutes before. How one younger, beardless Hank can go to this crazed-look with a monster banging on his door is the mystery. 

During After Midnights first half we learn about Hank, the person he is today, and what his friends think of him and Abby. They’re surprised to learn that she’s disappeared, and by all accounts, the two were a picture-perfect couple. Flashbacks continue to elevate the idea of Hank and Abby’s relationship blooming, their passion for one another only growing. But as an audience, you’re right to feel ambivalence towards Hank, as there surely must be something astray.

After Midnight is a beautiful film with cinematography by Christina Stella, who is also co-director alongside Jeremy Gardner. The flackback sequences of vivid and bright colours offer a stark contrast to the brown colour pallet washing the current-day scenes. However, the editing by Stella and Gardner is rough at times with several jarring cuts. The films best scene is a powerful super-long one-take where Gardner and Grant act their assess off. Not only was the one-shot effective for the scene, but I was thankful the editing didn’t ruin the emotional tension. 

After Midnight may leave some loving it and others hating it after the final act. An interesting karaoke scene is just one of the brave choices made. However, for me, the ending brought a smile to my face as I shook my head in amusement. This is a weird, lovely and highly original film. You have to see it to believe it. 


(After Midnight screener provided for review)