Ten Minutes to Midnight (2020) poster

Ten Minutes to Midnight (2020)


USA. 2020.


Director – Erik Bloomquist, Screenplay – Carson Bloomquist & Erik Bloomquist, Producers – Carson Bloomquist, Erik Bloomquist & Adam Weppler, Photography – Thomson Nguyen, Music – Gyom Amphoux, Visual Effects – Jester Pictures & Z Studio, Makeup Effects – Amanda Pepin, Production Design – Missy DiPiero. Production Company – Mainframe Pictures.


Caroline Williams (Amy Marlowe), Nicole Kang (Sienna Walker), William Youmans (Robert Williams), Adam Weppler (Aaron), Nicholas Tucci (Ernie), Greg Balla (Young Robert), Alice Kremelberg (Young Amy)


Amy Marlowe turns up for her shift as a rock dj on the Ten to Midnight radio show, complaining of having been bitten by a bat outside. This night her boss Robert Williams informs her that is to show new employee Sienna Walker the ropes. Amy realises that Sienna is intended as her replacement and erupts into an angry tirade on air. As the others drag her away, Amy bites Sienna. However, this serves to turn Sienna into a vampire who then starts preying on the others at the station.

The Vampire Film is in an uncertain state in the post-Twilight (2008) era, caught between serious works trying out new things, those trying to translate the vampire into different environments, or comedic takes that are a mix of parodies or deliberately ridiculous takes on the familiar. At a pinch, Ten Minutes to Midnight falls somewhere between the vampire in a new environment – a radio station – and a comedy take, although is never quite an out-and-out comedy.

The film’s sole name star is Caroline Williams who made her fifth film appearance as the heroine in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986). Since the late 1990s, Williams has become a genre regular on the fan circuit and made numerous appearances mostly in B movies. Now in her sixties, she slots perfectly into the role of the aging rock chick. She gets the hard-living side of it down at the same time as her character faces the abrupt realisation her cosy job on a midnight slot is coming to an end.

Caroline Williams has a role that she sinks her teeth into like a rabid dog with a postman’s leg that it won’t let go. There are times Ten Minutes to Midnight almost seems like it is in danger of becoming a female Vampire’s Kiss (1988). Williams gets into her full stride tearing apart Nicole Kang on air as she realises that she is about to be replaced. She swings between extremes, never more evident than the scene where she goes from a roaring tirade and slips into perfect calm voice as she goes on air without a missing a beat. She pushes it for outrage – at one point seen trying to slake her bloodthirst by devouring a used tampon from a garbage can. Nicole Kang, a relatively new actress who had previously appeared as Poison Ivy in tv’s Batwoman (2019-22), holds her own and has reasonable presence after getting the bite.

Aging rock dj Caroline Williams in Ten Minutes to Midnight (2020)
Aging rock dj Caroline Williams

On the other hand, beyond Caroline Williams (and Nicole Kang), Ten Minutes to Midnight seems all over the place. One of the more oddly inconsistent things is that it is Caroline Williams who gets the bite from the bat but it becomes Nicole Kang who actually turns into a vampire after being bit by Caroline and makes all the attacks on the staff all while Caroline remains unaffected. The oddest part however is the end where everybody in the station seems to change roles – Nicole Kang becomes the manager, manager William Youmans becomes the sound engineer and so on. Quite why the film conducts this dogleg turn left me confused.

Ten Minutes to Midnight is not related to nor should be confused with the Charles Bronson film 10 to Midnight (1983).

Director Erik Bloomquist appeared with a handful of short films and then created the newspaper tv series The Cobblestone Corridor (2016). He made his directorial debut with the thriller Long Lost (2018), followed by Ten Minutes to Midnight, the horror film Night at the Eagle Inn (2021) and the non-genre likes of Weekenders (2021) and Christmas on the Carousel (2021). He has also produced the SF films Alien Warfare (2019) and The Changed (2021).

Trailer here

Actors: , , , , , ,
Themes: ,