Speed Freak Productions’ Midnight Skater (2002) is frickin’ wild. Within the first five minutes I was bombarded with punk rock music, skateboarding, necrophilia, and tons of blood. Let’s just say that the angsty, rebellious, teen sk8er boi in me was losing his flippin’ marbles.
The plot revolves around a group of college friends who take it upon themselves to find and punish a skateboarder who travels by night and graffitis their campus. A pitiful case of tragedy of the commons – but thank God for these good samaritans! However, if they got their heads out of their butts, they would notice that their school was being threatened by an even greater danger – a serial killer who lures female students into his house and brutally dismembers them and has sex with their corpses. I don’t want to minimize their concerns over graffiti, but I think this problem might just be bigger! Just when you thought this school couldn’t get any worse, a popular new drug called ‘Z’ has infiltrated the campus. And while we all remember why drugs are bad from our elementary school D.A.R.E. program, ‘Z’ has a very unique side-effect that’s not your usual paranoid shivers, it turns you into a flesh-eating zombie! This country’s universities are in utter moral decay and I’m transferring.
From its opening scenes, Midnight Skater asserts itself as an important low-budget film. While being obviously shot for next to no money, it never gets held down by this fact. Actually, it doesn’t even acknowledge this lack of production funds. It simply rises to the occasion by making its low-budget amateurism feel necessary the film’s eerie atmosphere and DIY punk aesthetic. Also, unlike many low-budget horror films, Midnight Skater creates entertaining and actually heartfelt characters who I found myself rooting for. Lastly, the film had an EXTREME amount of gore. And while it was obviously fake, it was still cringe-worthy and oftentimes shocking. Even I, a seasoned horror film watcher, was taken aback by a scene where the serial killer slits a girls throat, slices off her arm, and then proceeds to slap his own ass with her dismembered arm while having sex with her. Like??? Excuse me???
My biggest problem with Midnight Skater was its excessive running time. Oftentimes, it felt like side plots were created for the sole purpose of filling a full 90 minutes. Halfway through the film, it feels like the writers could not think of any way of continuing the “group of college kids search for a campus killer” plot line so they added the “drug-induced zombie virus” plot line for filler. And while I enjoyed both aspects of the film, there was a definite juncture between the two plots that made the film a bit disjointed and disorienting. Towards the end, the film starts to drag and feel a bit repetitive, however the excessive gore and entertaining characters save the film from becoming unbearably monotonous.
Despite being a bit overlong, the film tied up very nicely. I think that’s what impressed me the most with Midnight Skater was the attention to detail the writers had. And while some side plots were a bit excessive, they were still smartly thought out and professionally executed. I probably won’t watch Midnight Skater again due to its running time, but as far as an independent, punk aesthetic, horror film, this is one of the best I’ve seen.
Review by: Alex Schultz