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Midnight In The Switchgrass (2021) Film-Review

Midnight in the Switchgrass (2021), directed by Randall Emmett  | FEATURE FILM REVIEW

Two FBI agents (Bruce Willis and Megan Fox) join forces with the local police (including Emile Hirsch) to track down a serial killer in Florida. Based on a true story, originally set in Texas, Midnight in the Switchgrass (2021) marks the directorial debut of Randall Emmett from a screenplay by Alan Horsnail.

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Megan Fox and Bruce Willis, Midnight in The Switchgrass 2021
Megan Fox and Bruce Willis, Midnight in The Switchgrass 2021. Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.

The team comes together

Randall Emmett is best known as a movie producer working on such high-profile movies such as The Irishman (2019) and 2 Guns (2013). This has enabled him to attract a strong cast to his debut project behind the camera. As well as Megan Fox, Bruce Willis and Emile Hirsch, we also find Lukas Haas who some may remember as the child actor in Witness (1985)

Luke Haas, Megan Fox Midnight in The Switchgrass
Luke Haas and Megan Fox, Midnight in The Switchgrass. Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.

This cast is the main appeal of the movie and will certainly be its primary marketing point.

Haven’t we seen this before?

Whenever I hear the words police, FBI, and killer the process of watching a movie can become one of spotting the cliché and guessing which familiar plot thread will come next. It falls to the strength of the acting and script to differentiate it from the competition. Where does Midnight in the Switchgrass fall on the spectrum of this genre?

The strength of the cast

Emile Hirsch as the policeman on the trail of the killer gives a sympathetic performance which at once is believable if not always compelling to view. 

Megan Fox gives a good account of her skills and brings in a fine performance as an FBI detective caught up in a sex trafficking case before crossing paths with the killer. Sadly, though, Bruce Willis seems to be on auto dial with his turn as her colleague. 

Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly, Midnight in The Switchgrass 2021
Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly, Midnight in The Switchgrass 2021. Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.

Luckily, despite Mr Willis being front and centre on the poster this is not a major impact on the film itself as his character is largely peripheral to the main plot. Where the movie really shines is in the performance of Lukas Haas; his switches from loving father to sinister neighbour really give the film a much needed shot in the arm.

It’s all in the words

Alan Horsnail has taken inspiration from a true story for this film, though it is something which has been seen many times before over the years. The banter between the FBI agents can feel a little stale at times – however, there are a couple of key scenes which really shine in this movie due to the writing combined with the acting. 

When Emile Hirsch visits the bereaved mother, it creates a beautiful moment in the film which is delightful to watch. There is also a moment in a neighbour’s house near the end which is beautifully constructed to ramp up levels of tension and dread. These scenes show us that there is definitely the potential for greater things from this writer and director.

Megan Fox and Bruce Willis as FBI, Midnight in The Switchgrass (2021)
Megan Fox and Bruce Willis as FBI Agents in Midnight in The Switchgrass (2021). Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.

Moments that really shine, but nothing special

On its own this movie is nothing special, many elements have been seen before and parts of the cast are not having their best days. However, there are moments which really shine, and Lukas Haas is a joy to watch. 

From the evidence seen here I would be intrigued to see how the career of Randall Emmett grows as a director.

2.3 out of 5 stars

Credits

Editor & Artwork: Richard Williams
Stills and trailer: Lionsgate
Special thanks: Katrina Wan PR

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