Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, and Don Johnson star in this bloody thriller from Bone Tomahawk writer-director S. Craig Zahler, in which a former boxer turned drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.


Midnight Madness

Brawl in Cell Block 99

S. Craig Zahler

On the spurs of his gnarly horror western Bone Tomahawk, writer-director S. Craig Zahler once more methodically distills genre tropes into a devilish jack-in-the-box structure, carefully winding them towards a climactic eruption of shocking violence. Here, Zahler's finely tuned escalation operates within the confines of the prison film. The featured inmate, Bradley Thomas, is a patient but boiling confluence of muscle and morality, portrayed with hulking stoicism by a remarkable Vince Vaughn.

After a post-layoff indiscretion incites him to pulverize his wife's car with his bare hands, Bradley resolves to salvage his depressed marriage by returning to the financial gains of running drugs for a local gangster. This buys him a brief reprieve of happiness and security, but before long also a jail sentence and a sinister threat from the exquisitely cast Udo Kier. It is at this juncture that the proverbial floor begins to drop out, and what begins as a sober crime drama magnificently descends into a nightmare so deranged that it will slack-jaw even the most jaded Midnight maven.

Memorable authoritarian performances from Don Johnson, Mustafa Shakir, and Fred Melamed further apply pressure to Vaughn's put-upon protagonist as he simmers his way to solitary, and Zahler soaks each interaction with delicious pulp and wit, before finally releasing the valve and delivering a punctuation mark most brutal and bloody.



Tue Sep 12

Ryerson Theatre

Wed Sep 13

Scotiabank 14

Wed Sep 13

Scotiabank 12

Thu Sep 14

Scotiabank 11

Sat Sep 16

Scotiabank 10