A low-grade serial killer thriller that isn’t worthy of your time
Bruce Willis’s career has always been a bit hit and miss. For every Die Hard and Sin City, we have had a Hudson Hawk and a Striking Distance, so his résumé has been anything but consistent.
But over the last few years, there have been far more misses than hits. 2019’s Motherless Brooklyn and the same’s year’s Glass have been rare exceptions although they didn’t exactly strike box office gold.
Still, they were much better than the movies Willis has made in the years since, including Midnight In The Switchgrass which is one of the many low-grade direct-to-streaming efforts that the actor has starred in, presumably to make enough money to keep his family afloat following his health-enforced retirement.
In this one, Willis stars as ageing FBI agent Karl Helter although to say he ‘stars’ in this would be an over-statement. As with many of the movies he has headlined over the last 3 to 4 years, he is barely in it at all, despite his face being prominently displayed on the movie’s poster.
He shares a few scenes with Megan Fox who stars as his crime-fighting partner Rebecca Lombardi, but he soon takes a backseat to the action that takes place when she starts to spend more time with Emilie Hirsch’s police officer Bryon Crawford, who is the real star of this substandard crime flick.
It’s a good thing that Willis isn’t in the movie for long as he is far from his best here. This is presumably because he had to have his lines fed to him through an earpiece due to the health condition that has caused his cognitive decline, so he can partly be forgiven for his wooden performance.
Fox and Hirsch turn in better performances although the script doesn’t give them a great deal to work with. It centres around a serial killer (Lukas Hass) who hangs around roadside motels and truck stops in search of his prey, and follows Rebecca and Bryan as they team up to investigate the murders that this seemingly respectable family man has been committing.
There is no mystery here as the killer’s identity is never in doubt although this wouldn’t matter if Haas’ character was interestingly written. But as the screenplay is diabolically poor, you’re out of luck if you want an in-depth study of a killer, so this is just one reason why this movie is barely worthy of your time.
The direction from debuting director Randall Emmett is another reason to give this one a miss as he doesn’t do much to draw us into the inherent darkness of the story. There is some effort to create tension during the beginning of the movie when an unfortunate sex worker becomes the latest victim of the prowling killer but just as the by-the-numbers plotting starts to drag the movie down, so too does Emmett’s direction which becomes increasingly uninspired.
This is far removed from such classics of the genre as The Silence Of The Lambs and Se7en, although you probably expected that anyway. Willis’s name in the credits is no longer a measure of quality, as I have already suggested, and the same can be said of Megan Fox, although she recently rose above expectations in Till Death, a rather gruesome thriller that had some entertainment value.
But even with your expectations set to low, you will still be disappointed with this one. It’s yet another forgettable thriller that is indistinguishable from many of the other cheaply made failures that can be found on our streaming services, and beyond the Florida setting and an admirably decent performance from Haas as the creepy killer, there is very little to recommend it.
If you do want to watch this movie (and I have no idea why you would), it is currently streaming on Netflix in the UK and it can be bought or rented from all of the usual VOD services online. However, you’re better off checking out our list of Bruce Willis’s best movies if you’re looking for something decent to watch starring the actor.
Midnight In The Switchgrass isn’t the worst Bruce Willis movie – Cosmic Sin holds that accolade in this writer’s opinion – but with its tired plotting and tired acting from its headlining star, this really is one to avoid.
Verdict - 3.5/10