Sunday, November 10, 2013

All Hallows' Eve Review

Ah, the anthology. It's been a staple of the genre for years, and yes friends, I love them. There seems to have been a bit of a resurgence of late, particularly in the indie market, with films like The Theatre Bizarre, Scary or Die, and V/H/S and V/H/S/2 all doing relatively well. All Hallows' Eve is the latest in this trend, and comes to us from writer/director Damien Leone. As with most anthologies, it both hits and misses the mark at times, but in the end is pretty entertaining, and may have just given us our next horror icon to obsess over.

All Hallows' Eve is comprised of three short films, with a wraparound segment that ties it all together. It begins with a babysitter who is watching two kids on Halloween. While arguing about what to watch on television, they find a mysterious VHS tape in one of the kids' trick or treat bags. Reluctant to watch it at first, the babysitter eventually gives in and pops the tape in the VCR. On the tape are three short films, all tied together by the presence of a murderous clown.

The babysitter and the kids are the wraparound segment, and it's pretty good, although nothing to terribly original. The sitter ends up letting the kids stay up for the first segment on the tape before sending them up for bed, at which point, although she looked disgusted through the first part, she continues on with the rest of the tape. Eventually strange things start to happen around the house, she begins to hear noises, and of course the line between the tape and reality begins to blur.

As for the short films, or segments, themselves, they vary in quality. The first one starts off with a pretty creepy scene with the clown, but turns into a "big idea, but poor execution" affair, which sadly takes away from the enjoyment. The second is the most original idea in the bunch, with an alien ship crash landing in a neighborhood. A home invasion flick, with heavy emphasis on "invasion". The last clip ended up being my favorite, as the clown, Art, takes center stage for a Hitchhiker-esque tale, that ups the creep factor, and especially the gore.

I'm not sure if Leone has plans for a sequel in mind or not, but I certainly hope so. For all the things All Hallows' Eve does wrong, there are things that it does brilliantly, and it's obvious that the main problems were budgetary. If nothing else, if Leone plays his cards right, he may have created the next big horror icon in Art the Clown. People love a creepy clown, and folks, Art is the scariest goddamn clown I've seen since Pennywise. If you're one of the more forgiving indie horror watchers out there, like myself, definitely give All Hallows' Eve a watch. Anthology fans will also find there's some fun to be had here, just don't have unrealistic expectations beforehand.

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