Jaclyn Bartlett says Livin’ After Midnight is a unique vampire story with an intriguing commentary on the LGBTQ+ experience.
The Queer horror short Livin’ After Midnight, directed by Tom von Dohlen and written by Brant Lewis, follows Robyn (Rey Deveroux), a non-binary vampire, on a date with a fellow vampire, Tyler (Evan Vihlen). It provides an intriguing commentary on the LGBTQ+ experience while exploring gender and identity. Despite an abundance of vampires in film and literature, it remains a fresh take on the otherwise “tired” genre.
Where the film stands out is thought-provoking themes on dating and the difficulties of being open and vulnerable within the LGBTQ+ community. Robyn and Tyler keep the fact that they’re vampires a secret. Their secrecy symbolizes the struggle Queer individuals often have opening up about who they are in a society that has historically and continues to reject them.
Tyler is reluctant to be vulnerable in relationships. Turning away from Robyn’s romantic advances reflects his desire to protect himself and his identity. The clever line, “We’ll take it one night at a time,” gives viewers hope for their relationship.
Lewis shows promises as a screenwriter, with dialogue that feels natural and fun. The characters have distinct and complex personalities. The excellent writing paired with Deveroux and Vihlen’s performances creates an enjoyable on-screen dynamic and makes you want to root for the couple. Livin’ After Midnight is a breath of fresh air with strong themes, a fun storyline, clever dialogue, and fascinating, well-rounded characters. It is the LGBTQ+ representation you hope to see in horror films.
Livin’ After Midnight was screened at the Chattanooga Film Festival on June 23-28, 2022.