The Midnight After
|The Midnight After|
|Directed by||Fruit Chan|
|Produced by||Amy Chin|
The Midnight After Film
One Ninety Films
|Distributed by||Golden Scene|
The Midnight After (Chinese: 那夜凌晨，我坐上了旺角開往大埔的紅VAN; literally: "That midnight, I got on a red public light bus that headed from Mong Kok to Tai Po") is a 2014 Hong Kong satirical horror comedy film directed by Fruit Chan and starring Wong You-nam, Janice Man, Simon Yam, Kara Hui, Lam Suet, Chui Tien-you, Cheuk Wan-chi, Lee Sheung-ching, Sam Lee and Jan Curious. The film is based on the web-novel, Lost on a Red Mini Bus to Taipo by the 25-year-old Hong Kong writer nicknamed "Mr. Pizza" from the Internet forum HKGolden. It was first serialized online from February to July 2012 and then published in book form in July 2012.
Seventeen people board a Hong Kong minibus going from Mong Kok to Tai Po: driver Suet; Yau Tsi-chi and Yuki, who are visiting their respective dates; Fat, an aging gangster; Mook Sau-ying, a fortune-telling insurance salesperson; Shun, a computer technician; Pat and Bobby, a married couple; Blind Fai, a drug addict; Auyeung Wai, a music store salesperson; Lavina, a quiet, buck-toothed woman; Airplane and Glu-Stick, rowdy boys; and university students Tsing, Peter, Dawg, and Hung. As the minibus enters a tunnel, Fat notices the traffic seemingly disappear, and several other passengers remark upon how quiet the streets have become. The university students leave on the first stop, and one immediately becomes ill.
By the second stop, the passengers come to believe they are the only people remaining in Hong Kong. They propose various explanations, though Mook insists destiny has brought them together to experience a paranormal event. Before leaving, the passengers exchange phone numbers. Yau and Yuki leave together, and as Yuki talks about missing her boyfriend, Yau sees a man in a gas mask, though he keeps this from Yuki. After she leaves, Yau encounters the university students, all of whom have now become ill. They beg him for help as they melt before him. Yau swerves to avoid them on his bicycle as he speeds past, and the last remaining student curses him as he dies. Yau crosses the tunnel to return home but finds nobody there.
Each of the passengers receives a phone call comprising noises and mechanical screeches. They meet at a diner to discuss it, where Shun reveals he has performed audio analysis on it. He decodes English phrases that Auyeung recognizes as lyrics from David Bowie's song "Space Oddity". No one understands its significance, though Mook continues to insist on a paranormal interpretation. After each describes their background, Auyeung bursts into flames from the Explosion by his Electronics and dies. Spooked, Yau describes the man in a gas mask, though Yuki claims not to have been with him at the time. Yau spots another man in a gas mask, and he, Bobby, and Fat chase after the man.
Before catching him, they discover Lavina's body, surmising that she was raped before dying of a possibly-contagious illness. The man, revealed to be Japanese, claims through a mobile translation app to be there to save them and a former classmate of Yau's. Yau denies knowing him. As the Japanese man escapes, he says something about "fuku", which they speculate could be a reference to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Before returning with the others, Yau receives a phone call from his girlfriend, Yi, in which she claims he has disappeared for six years. The call ends abruptly as she makes oblique references to Major Tom and Tai Mo Shan.
Bobby suddenly dies shortly after Yau's return. Fat sends Suet to retrieve and refuel his bus upon learning of Yi's phone call. On the way, Suet is forced to kill a zombified Blind Fai with a cleaver. On Suet's return, Glu-Stick accuses Airplane of raping Lavina, who was an attractive thief in disguise. Glu-Stick says Lavina died mysteriously during her rape, but, undeterred by her death, Airplane continued assaulting her. Disgusted, the others discuss banishing Airplane, though Pat demands Airplane be killed for spreading Lavina's infection and causing Bobby's death. Yau reluctantly agrees, and each ritually stabs Airplane to death, including Glu-Stick.
While Shun disposes of Airplane's body, Airplane suddenly revives. Shun argues his attack was the least vicious and offers to help Airplane get revenge on his killers. Airplane agrees, only to be killed again by Shun. As they board the minibus to go to Tai Mo Shan, the group sees more gas-masked people accompanied by armour. Two of the armour ram the minibus, but the damaged vehicle escapes and continues on its journey. After becoming annoyed with Glu-Stick, they briefly banish him before allowing him back in, along with Fai, who is inexplicably still alive. As they drive toward Tai Mo Shan, a red rain falls on the minibus, and several passengers experience regret at leaving the city.
- Wong You-nam as Yau Tsi-chi
- Janice Man as Yuki
- Simon Yam as Fat
- Kara Hui as Mook Sau-ying
- Lam Suet as Suet, the driver
- Chui Tien-you as Shun
- Cheuk Wan-chi as Pat
- Lee Sheung-ching as Bobby
- Sam Lee as Blind Fai
- Jan Curious as Auyeung Wai
- Melodee Mak as Lavina
- Ronnie Yuen as Airplane
- Kelvin Chan as Glu-Stick
- Russell Zhou as Tsing, university student
- Zhang Chi as Peter, university student
- Sunday Yuen as Dawg, university student
- Wayne Si as Hung, university student
- Cherry Ngan as Yi, Yau Tsi-chi's girlfriend
- Endy Chow as Birthmark Japanese
Chan said he wanted to explain various problems in Hong Kong through metaphors. The film does not include the entirety of the source novel, and Chan said a sequel is a possibility.
Film Business Asia gave the film a seven out of ten rating, referring to it as "an intensely local but exhilarating comedy-horror that shows Chan firing on all pistons with his indie energy of old." The review also noted that "Some of the dialogue, especially in the second half, starts to needlessly slow the film and could profitably be trimmed with no loss of detail — as in the movie's most blackly comic section when the group turns on a member with grisly results." Variety's Maggie Lee called the film a "delirious return to form" for Chan that will play well to fans of Hong Kong cinema, though she said it is uninterested in appealing to mainstream audiences. Lee described "themes of exile and death" and a "highly political message" about Hong Kong's itself. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter instead criticized the film's lack of tonal consistency, calling it a "tiresome comic strip of urban cataclysm".
Taipei Trends wrote, "The immense contrast and ridiculously inappropriate reactions from the characters to what is going on around them, as well as the strong personalities from each of them really sets the mood in a good way."[self-published source?] However, it also added, "While the film continues to entertain, it soon becomes apparent that none of the mysteries that have been built-up will ever be answered."
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- "《蘋果》柏林直擊 陳果：我們不能選Boss 《紅VAN》為港人發聲寸爆政府" [Apple Live from Berlin, Fruit Chan: "We can't choose our boss", Movie speaks for Hong Kong people]. Apple Daily (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Next Media. 9 Feb 2014. Retrieved 25 Feb 2014.
- Mr.Pizza (14 Feb 2012). "[新手] 那夜凌晨，我坐上了旺角開往大埔的紅van" [[Newbie] That night, I was lost on a Red Minibus to Taipo]. Hong Kong Golden Forum (web-novel) (in Chinese). Retrieved 25 Feb 2014.
- Press Office (17 January 2014). "Jan 17, 2014: Panorama 2014: Selection of Fictional Features for Main Programme and Panorama Special Now Complete". berlinale.de. Berlin International Film Festival. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
- Napolitano, Dean (10 April 2014). "Hong Kong's Angst Bubbles Beneath 'The Midnight After'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
- Lee, Maggie (8 February 2014). "Review: ‘‘The Midnight After’’". Variety. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
- Rooney, David (7 February 2014). "The Midnight After: Berlin Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
- http://www.taipeitrends.com.tw/an-emotional-roller-coaster-the-midnight-after/ Taipei Trends