Alton Meyer is an eight-year old boy with eyes that shoot beams brighter than a flashlight with a hundred batteries. His hands glow, too. Wish I had glowing hands. No reason. Just seems like it’d be neat.
Alton, his dad and a friend are being hunted by the Feds, cops, and a wacko religious cult in Texas who think Alton is the next Messiah du jour. They’re on a cross-state run to get Alton to a specific location in Florida where some unknown mind-bending stuff is about to hit the fan. And there’s a lot of fan-hitting that happens on the way there.
Meanwhile the FBI raids The Ranch, where the cult holds sermons and stockpiles heavy artillery. Seems the pastoral babblings contained encoded satellite transmissions given to the head cult leader by Alton, who was raised at the compound after mom dumped him there when his “powers” became too strong for her to deal with. The penalty for having accessing such encrypted information, says Agent Paul Sevier, is so severe, the Government has yet to think up a suitable punishment. Yeow to that!
A spectacular display of Alton’s powers comes at a gas station where his dad and friend stop for potato chip supplies. Wearing goggles (so people can’t see his high beam peepers), he brings down a satellite in a shower of flaming chunks on top of them. The Feds are upset as it was an important satellite, one with the sole purpose of detecting nuclear events anywhere in the world. That, and it was freakin’ expensive.
Stopping to pick up mom, the fugitives are relentlessly tracked by the cult, who manage to violently kidnap Alton. The Feds kidnap Alton from the cult and it’s here the bright-eyed boy reveals his secrets to Agent Sevier. Alton tells him there’s a world above the one they’re currently on, and that he belongs with “his people.” Dutifully freaked out, Sevier manages to get the kid back to the dad, who in an nerve-wracking car chase sequence, gets Alton to the aforementioned coordinates, which happen to be in the Florida Everglades. (You don’t see ‘em, but there were probably hundreds of bugs in the swamp. Ick.)
And it’s here Alton rejoins “his people” who materialize after a nuclear-esque event. (Too bad the don’t have a satellite to detect it.) Midnight Special (2016) is slow burn intense up to that point, but that scene is the money shot. Who knew the aliens could be this cool? Who knew this movie with its lackluster title would be this cool? You will once you watch it (glowing eyes not required.)