Bruce Willis with Megan Fox starred as FBI agents to investigate the abduction deaths of young women in Florida.
The log line may lead you to believe differently, but Midnight in the Switchgrass is not a serious film. In Pensacola, Florida, a humid coastal city, a multi-agency (FBI and local police force) inquiry into the kidnapping and violent killings of young women follows Randall Emmett’s badly conceived and agonisingly played directorial debut. The film, which describes itself as a criminal thriller-mystery, falls short of even the most basic expectations; it doesn’t take its characters seriously and doesn’t commit to its flimsy attempt at topicality.
Midnight in the Switchgrass is written by screenwriter Alan Horsnail, who has done the work to make it a big failure. Formulaic projects like these requires excellent writing and emotional heft, that left no clichés like as it is shown in movie exposing American culture’s reliance on tired clichés about women, sexual violence and law enforcement. Examining these films allows us to consider whether disturbing symbols are perpetuated in genre narratives. Even if the aim of these flicks is to enjoy the pulpy, sweaty atmosphere and action — rather than the content — movies like HBO’s Mare of Easttown illustrate how to deliberately tackle with real-life concerns without surrendering genre gratifications.
The issues with Midnight in the Switchgrass start with the intention: It isn’t sure what kind of movie it wants to make. The uneven direction, which alternates between a sombre, melancholic detective procedural and a melodramatic character study, gives the impression of seeing two separate, equally disappointing films. While the aesthetics are adequate, it’s difficult to appreciate them while attempting to follow the tale and keep track of multiple storylines.