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The Beast Comes at Midnight (2023) Review

The Beast Comes at Midnight begins with Andras (Eric Roberts, DC Down, Runaway Train)is carrying a lantern and looking for something dangerous in the woods. He calls the creature out, but things don’t go as planned, with unfortunate consequences for him. In the present, a small central Florida town is dealing with a rash of missing or dead pets and strange noises coming from the woods. Something that, over the past few months, has expanded from pets to livestock and then to people.

Tuff (Michael McKeever) is vaguely aware of this, but has bigger issues. His father, who owns a Museum of Oddities, is gone again chasing down exhibits. He has to deal with bullying from Wes (Kyle Oifer), his girlfriend Trini (Samantha O’Donnell, Our Agenda), and best friend Mutt (Dylan Intriago, The Inn, Harlow’s Haunt). However, the fourth member of their group, Mary (Madelyn Chimento), thinks he’s cute.

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That changes when Night (Michael Paré, Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar, Streets of Fire), who watches over the museum and Tuff while his father is gone, gives him a book on a werewolf supposedly captured in the 1800s. After featuring it on his podcast, he gets a call from a listener who claims it was a real creature, and one like it is responsible for the deaths in town.

I first heard of The Beast Comes at Midnight due to it sharing people behind and in front of the camera with 100 Acres of Hell, but these are two very different creatures. While the former is an excellent, and quite bloody, Hills Have Eyes style film, this is a family friendly film along the lines of The Monster Squad or Scooby-Doo. While that will understandably turn off the more hardcore horror fans, it was films like that, be it old Universal films from the 30s and 40s or Disney’s Return from Witch Mountain with Christopher Lee and Betty Davis, which helped get me interested in horror as a kid.

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The Beast Comes at Midnight was written by director Christopher Jackson (Past the Fields, Terror Tales), Jason Henne (Seeing Evil, Crazy Lake), Michael McKeever and Ed McKeever (100 Acres of Hell, Blood Lodge) and contains some interesting characters and unexpected twists along with the expected script beats.

Those characters include Joe Castro (Cheer Bloody Murder, Scalper), who also provided the film’s effects, as Beast Man, writer Jason Henne who has appeared in the likes of Zed’s Dead and Naked Cannibal Campers as a comical caller to Tuff’s podcast, Sylvia (Barbora Sulova, Sammy Slick: Vampire Slayer, Monopoly Money: The Movie) the owner of an occult store and former pro wrestler Gene Snisky, who had a memorably macabre feud in the WWE with Kane, as an ill-fated fisherman.

All of the cast do a good job, something I was concerned with given the general lack of experience among the film’s leads. Madelyn Chimento stands out with the more complicated role of someone who has to deal with peer pressure and later her own fears to do what she feels right. She has nice chemistry with Michael McKeever which helps keep the budding romance between the characters from seeming too cute.

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With its family friendly nature, The Beast Comes at Midnight is devoid of gore, with the kills happening off-screen. The creature effects are quite good, although we don’t see the werewolf until the film’s final minutes. When it does make its appearance, it’s a big American Werewolf in London style creature who has something in common with Monster Squad’s lycanthrope as well.

While certainly not my usual style of monster movie, I found The Beast Comes at Midnight quite entertaining, and it should be well received by the audience it was made for. The only real complaints I had are some fairly bad dialogue and how obvious the werewolf’s identity is.

An enjoyable story that should keep the kids entertained without leaving their parents to deal with nightmares, the film’s final scenes promise a sequel involving Tuff’s missing father, and if done right, this could be the start of an enjoyable franchise for younger viewers. The Beast Comes at Midnight is available on Digital, you can check its Facebook page for more information.

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