Walking Dead director Julius Ramsay talks about his new film Midnighters

Midnighters; IFC
Midnighters; IFC /

Director Julius Ramsay recently talked to Undead Walking about his new horror thriller “Midnighters” which fans of The Walking Dead and horror thrillers will really enjoy.

Fans of The Walking Dead might not recognize his name but Julius Ramsay has edited many episodes of The Walking Dead. And he directed two episodes that everyone will recognize: “Still” and “Them”. His first feature length film “Midnighters” hits theaters and will be available for streaming on Friday, March 2nd and fans of The Walking Dead will love it.

“Midnighters” focuses on a married couple, Jeff (Dylan McTee) and Lindsey (Alex Essoe). After a disappointing New Year’s Eve that hints at some stress in their marriage they hit a man with their car on a dark country road as they are driving home.

They decide to take the injured man back to their home and wait to get help for him because they are afraid of what consequences they might face because Jeff had been drinking. The decision to bring him back to their home sets off a chain of panicked decisions, surprise events, and a series of story twists that even a seasoned horror movie buff won’t see coming.

Fans of old film noir style thrillers will love the undercurrent of tension that is present throughout the film. Darkly lush cinematography blends with the unfolding story to create a sense of unease that heightens the tension between the characters. The dialogue delivers just enough exposition to reveal necessary backstory information without taking the viewer out of the present moment that the characters find themselves in.

Director Julius Ramsay recently talked with me about the film and his work on The Walking Dead. Here’s what he had to say about “Midnighters”:

Without revealing any spoilers how would you describe the film?

"“It’s a noir thriller that examines the cracks in a marriage and the resulting tension when some extreme circumstances transpire.”"

What was the inspiration for the film?

"“I wanted to make a low budget thriller that was kind of a throwback to the classic film noir thriller where the tension comes from the relationships between the characters.”"

Julius cited the works of Alfred Hitchcock, early Coen brothers films and the classic horror film “Shallow Graves” as influences. And film buffs who are familiar with those references will definitely see their influence in “Midnighters”. There is some violence in the film but it’s not over the top or forced. It feels organic to the story and not as if it was put there as an afterthought.

Where did the idea for the story come from?

"“My brother Alston wrote the story. He was inspired by a news story that he had read and he took some of the events from the story and went from there.”"

The story has some surprising twists and turns that viewers won’t see coming, even if they are dedicated horror fans who usually can spot the plot twists coming early on in the story. I’ve been watching horror movies since I was a little kid and when I watch a horror film it usually takes me about ten minutes to see where the story is going. But I was genuinely surprised by some of the plot twists in “Midnighters”.

Did your work on The Walking Dead influence your directorial choices?

"“Very much so. Some of the stylistic choices, cinematography choices and the crafting of the tension in the story was greatly influenced by The Walking Dead. During the first two seasons of The Walking Dead under Frank Darabont we were really creating a new world with a unique look. Nothing like that had existed on TV before so we were creating the look of the show from scratch.”"

The subtle but distinct influences from The Walking Dead aren’t all that TWD fans will recognize in “Midnighters”. Jim Rothenberg, who played Atlanta original Jim in season 1 of The Walking Dead, is also in this film.

What is your favorite episode of The Walking Dead?

"“I’d have to say the first episode I directed, “Still”, is my favorite.”"

Fans of The Walking Dead will remember that “Still” was the episode in season 4 where Daryl and Beth took refuge in an old cabin and tried to deal with their grief over Hershel’s murder by The Governor and the shock of the group being separated after the attack on the prison.

Where To Watch “Midnighters”

You can watch the “Midnighters” trailer here:

And to find the film playing in a theater near you check here. It opens on Friday, March 2nd.

More from Undead Walking

It will also be available on streaming platforms like iTunes if you can’t find it in a theater near you.

Be sure to follow the film on Twitter: @midnightersfilm!

Special thanks to director Julius Ramsay for taking the time to talk with me!