Something special to play on our nerves

Midnight Special starring Joel Edgerton and Michael Shannon. Photo: PA Photo/Warner Bros

Midnight Special starring Joel Edgerton and Michael Shannon. Photo: PA Photo/Warner Bros

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MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (12A, 112 mins) Sci-Fi/Thriller/Romance/Action, starrring Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Jaeden Lieberher, Adam Driver, Bill Camp, Scott Haze, Sam Shepard, David Jensen. Director: Jeff Nichols.

Television channels flicker to life with breaking news of the abduction of an eight-year-old boy, Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher), by a man identified as Roy Tomlin (Michael Shannon).

Viewers are asked to remain vigilant and telephone any sightings. Inside a hotel room, Roy and his buddy Lucas (Joel Edgerton) prepare to move Alton - Roy’s biological son - under the cloak of night in order to avoid attracting attention.

A brief pit stop for petrol leads to devastation on an unimaginable scale and reveals some of the little boy’s powers.

Back at the compound of a religious cult, which used to be Alton’s home, leader Calvin Meyer (Sam Shepard) despatches two obedient disciples, Doak (Bill Camp) and Levi (Scott Haze).

“You have four days to get the boy back here,” growls Calvin, who believes that Alton will protect his flock from the end of the world.

They track Roy, Lucas and the boy to the home of Roy’s wife Sarah (Kirsten Dunst).

Meanwhile, National Security Agency analyst Paul Sevier (Adam Driver) and the FBI try to make sense of Alton’s abilities and the ramifications for mankind.

Midnight Special plays cat-and-mouse with our frayed nerves.