Sixty Minutes to Midnight review: A man finds himself the star of a warped reality show competition in this low-budget home-invasion thriller.
Sixty Minutes to Midnight review by Kat Hughes.
Rounding off this year’s Horror Channel Frightfest is director Neil Mackay’s Sixty Minutes to Midnight, a home-invasion version of The Running Man.
New Year’s Eve 1999 proves to be a very tough night for former soldier Jack Darcy (Robert Nolan). His night of drinking in front of the television is rudely interrupted as he finds himself the unwitting star of a new extreme reality show. The rules are simple, he has sixty minutes to either kill or be killed as his house comes under siege by a variety of trained killers. If he wins, he’ll win a life-changing prize, if he loses, his life is forfeit.
Sixty Minutes to Midnight encapsulates the bygone era of bloody action films such as Die Hard and, well anything with Chuck Norris in. The action too is well-handled. The scaled-down nature of the production means that the film is confined to Jack’s home, but that doesn’t stop shoot-outs and more tearing up the place. As previously mentioned, it’s very much a home-set version of The Running Man, big boots to fill, but this micro-budget production does a commendable job.
Mackay uses his budget in very clever ways. Firstly, the decision to set the story in the past manages to mask a lack of money. Choosing the 1999 setting means that simple things like letting Jack have an old-school portable TV make sense. This enables the limited budget to be stretched to its maximum. Most of the cast and crew are first-timers and, whilst some the acting is a little wobbly in places, the film still manages to be more put-together than several big studio movies.
Plot-wise the story would potentially be better if we were to get to know a little more about the henchmen sent to dispatch our hero. Not wanting to continually compare to The Running Man, as Sixty Seconds to Midnight is its own beast, but the villains there have a bit of flesh to them. Caricatures they may be, but we still get to know a little about them; here they feel like glorified red-shirts sent in to be more fodder for Jack to carve his way through.
At barely eighty minutes, this film races along in almost real time; perfect viewing would have the viewer pressing play just before 11pm. A compelling idea very well told, Sixty Minutes to Midnight can easily sit alongside the films that it’s paying tribute to.
Sixty Minutes to Midnight review by Kat Hughes, March 2018.
Sixty Minutes to Midnight was reviewed at the 2018 Horror Channel Frightfest event which formed part of the 2018 Glasgow Film Festival.