Matty Castano, Kristine Castano
Imagine sitting down to watch your favorite television show - and I'm not talking about a half hour sitcom. I'm talking about a full, forty five to fifty minute episode, of your favorite binge worthy show. So you settle in. Grab some popcorn if that's your preference... and wait for something to happen. Some dramatic weekly event or answer to last weeks episode. Now imagine that during the entire length - nothing happened. Nothing at all. An entire episode of someone walking around, living their life. Maybe add a friend for twenty minutes or so, gossiping about random incidents. Other than that? Nothing. Nothing really at all worth noting.
Now, picture watching the next episode and for about half of that, again, nothing happens. That's an hour of your time, waiting for something... anything to happen - and it doesn't. An hour is a long time to wait right? It really doesn't matter what happens next because quite frankly... that's an hour of nothing and by then you're probably really bored. We are assuming of course, that you even made it through that hour. Wondering what any of this has to do with this movie? The answer is simple. That is this movie. "Alone In The Dead Of Night" literally makes you wait around an hour before anything really happens. So what do you get to see? Exactly what I wrote about above. Nothing more. It's an hour of talking about nothing that really relates to the movie, save a trip to the weird creepy guy for a necklace... and that never even happened! Then, even more waiting. One location. One actor, mostly... and a whole lot of hand held camera.
But then, for the last half hour or so, things do pick up. Things get weird and uneasy really fast. That's not to say plot holes don't exist, but it's at this point Matty Castano and Kristine Castano, who wrote this film, really turn up the dial. My entire rating is based on the last act of the film. If the first two acts were as good... damn... this would have been a stellar movie.
Spoiler free plot summary? Mallory, an art student has hurt herself and is pretty much under house arrest. After some wine with a friend, and then a little more, she's ready to turn in. Having no way to really communicate with the outside world, because she dropped her phone in the tub, she has to contend with strange demon... monster things. Will she survive the night? Or is it all in her head? That last part is taken from the description and in itself is a plot hole. I'll get into more on that later.
This movie would have fared so much better, in my humble opinion, as a short film. Cut out all the pointless and leave only what moves the story forward. Mainly, cut the majority of the first hour. And yet I still feel this film is an average movie. All based on the last act. That final act alone is worth at least a four stars. The creepy, uneasy vibe I had as I watched is unmistakable. The creatures were horrendous. Think "Hellraiser" with a side of "Silent Hill" for good measure. "Alone In The Dead Of Night" if nothing else, serves as a brilliant concept for some of these ideas, and a great group of scenes for an acting reel. But a great final act doesn't make a great film. Most people won't even get that far - and that's a shame.
So. I'm not a fan of hand held camera work replacing traditional cinematography - and hand held pretty much makes up this entire movie. But this film has a few other issues as well. The use of background music, almost entirely throughout the first and second act, serve only to make us viewers think something is being covered up. Less is more - truer words have never been spoken.
As for that massive plot hole I was writing about earlier? Let me try and explain without wrecking the film. The movie is kind of set up a little open ended. By that I mean us viewers, are not supposed to be one hundred percent convinced what happened was even real. Mallory has gone crazy. But can you blame her? Look what happened? Right? The thing is... there are scenes that completely contradict that everything was made up in her head. Scenes such as the appearance of a demon, during the first act of the film. In the kitchen for example. Mallory wasn't even there to witness it? That gross demon was in the kitchen with her friend - and only her friend. This leads me to believe all the monsters are real - a contradiction to the open ending we're left with. It's scenes like that, that should have never made it to post production. Just saying.
At the end of the day, just for the sheer horrific joy of the final act, this film is definitely worth checking out. You just have to sit through the first hour or so. That eerie vibe is an amazing accomplishment for a low budget flick. Had this film been shorter, and all the fat been trimmed, an easy four stars. Writing as the average Joe who had to wait all that time for things to get good... a solid two and a half stars.