Review: After Midnight

Jeremy Gardner in “After Midnight.”

Dir. Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella. 83 minutes.
2/5

Hank (Jeremy Gardner) wakes up one morning to find his live-in girlfriend Abby (Brea Grant) has run off. That night, he’s visited by a werewolf-like beast that claws at his front door. Waiting night after night for the creature to attack once more, Hank spirals into loneliness and misanthropy.

Is Hank’s monster real, or is it only a monster of the mind? A more talented director would have intrigued us with this question. “After Midnight” isn’t “Countdown” or “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” — it’s not the creation of philistines, frauds or idiots. It’s merely a bland, unconvincing film that fails to build an atmosphere. Writer-director-star Jeremy Gardner’s faux-spontaneous dialogue is often cringeworthy, and his wide-angle cinematography only serves to show off how boring the set design is. This is the sort of film where, during the climactic action sequence, you fight the urge to pull out your phone and check how the Democratic primaries are going.

The movie is energized by the presence of the exceedingly charismatic comedian Henry Zebrowski, who I can only assume was a friend of someone on the production. “After Midnight” is amateurish horror, neither impressive nor offensive. At least there were no dolls or exorcisms.