Review: Midnight in the Switchgrass (2021)


Midnight in the Switchgrass (2021)

Directed by: Randall Emmett | 99 minutes | action, crime | Actors: Emile Hirsch, Megan Fox, Bruce Willis, Lukas Haas, Caitlin Carmichael, Olive Elise Abercrombie, Jason Trawick, Lydia Hull, Welker White, Alec Monopoly, Jackie Cruz, Sergio Rizzuto

If ‘Midnight in the Switchgrass’ doesn’t cash in on the Razzie nominations that both Bruce Willis and Megan Fox received for their acting in this crime film, the film won’t disappear from the history books after all: it was on this set where the popular actress Machine Gun Kelly. The rapper/artist/actor, whose real name is Colson Baker, has a small part in the film (and is surprisingly good too), sparked and photos of the couple have graced Hollywood gossip websites ever since.

Unfortunately there isn’t much left to remember the generic ‘Midnight in the Switchgrass’ for. This feature film debut by Randall Emmett, mainly known as a producer, will not appear in a list of ‘top films about serial killers’. The story is of the thick wood type when planks are sawn, the characters are made of cardboard and in terms of atmosphere and tension it doesn’t end there either.

In Pensacola, Florida, more and more teenage girls are disappearing. Sometimes a remains is found, in other cases relatives of these girls remain in uncertainty for a long time. Local agent Byron has taken it upon himself to find the serial killer – because that is what he believes is the case. There are quite a few cold cases that he expects to be solved once he has this sadist behind bars, but the killer doesn’t seem to be found. Fortunately, he gets help from FBI agents Karl and Rebecca, who in turn are investigating this man.

In ‘Midnight in the Switchgrass’ the focus is alternately on the serial killer himself and the people who are after him. Already in the first scene of Lukas Haas, when he takes a stoned teenager in his truck, we suspect that he is the horrific killer in question, so don’t expect much suspense from that. The scenario doesn’t really go deep into the psyche of this nasty man either – he has a secret stash with clothes from his former victims that he smells ecstatically at, but we also see him as a father, which makes you feel uneasy because you are with him. all scenes with the sweet innocent daughter already know what kind of monster her father is.

Law enforcement officers are also barely involved. Megan Fox plays the undercover FBI agent Rebecca, who hopes to unmask a people smuggler. She is assisted by the worn-out cop Karl (Bruce Willis), who suddenly disappears halfway through the film, because he does not agree with choices his colleague makes. Emile Hirsch plays better than you would expect from an actor in such a film, but also his character – an ambitious agent with a strong sense of responsibility, which clashes with his role as a brand new father – is not much to do. The sad thing is that the victims are hardly seen in this film: they are mainly girls who work as prostitutes, easy prey, which gives the film a bad aftertaste.

That varied focus can work well, but here it makes for an unbalanced film. Add to that the fact that the tempo drops considerably every now and then and there is little left to recommend ‘Midnight in the Switchgrass’. Only if you want to see every Bruce, Megan, Emile or Lukas movie…

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