SEPTEMBER 11, 2007
Horror fans are probably familiar with the Asylum company, sort of a poor man’s Full Moon who usually produce quick knockoffs of big budget Hollywood films. Some titles include Snakes on a Train, When A Killer Calls, etc. So it’s almost sort of a big step for them to produce Halloween Night, a film that obviously owes its existence to Carpenter's classic and its sequels (particularly Resurrection, for some goddamn reason), yet was produced and released in 2006, a year without a Halloween sequel that unsuspecting folks might mistake it for. Bravo, Asylum!
That’s not to say that the film is very good, mind you. But it’s far from a train wreck. The production value is decent, the HD DV work is well shot (looks great on an upscaled DVD player), the main theme is pretty good, and there are some nice kills (complete with mostly effective gore) sprinkled throughout. And while most of the actors are as bland as they come (and most of them resemble better actors: there’s a fake James Franco, a fake Breckin Meyer, a fake Erica Durance…) the lead actor, Derek Osedach (himself a fake Evan Goldberg), is like the Olivier of non-acting. He doesn’t act in the film so much as he just sort of hangs out in it, and nearly all of his lines are delivered in a sort of muttering, half-assed manner. It’s pretty much the exact way I would act if I was the lead actor in a direct to video movie about yet another escaped mental patient hacking up some folks in an isolated house. I was completely entranced by his pseudo-performance throughout the entire film.
However, the script has some giant lapses in both logic and pacing. For example, the film stops cold halfway through for a nonsensical prank that the lead and two of his friends are trying to pull off. The fact that the prank makes not one iota of sense AND is needlessly complicated (it involves having a distant friend annoy people at the party, a medieval torturer, fake cops, fake cop CARS, a roadblock…) would be fine if it didn’t go on for so long and stinks of padding. Plus, in a moment that rivals the scene in Halloween: Resurrection where Busta Rhymes ‘punks’ Michael Myers; the killer joins in on the prank, allowing himself to be held hostage, drive off with another guest, etc. It’s completely ludicrous, overlong, and only exists to get all the other partygoers out of the house, something Scream managed with a simple line of dialogue. And the ending is also lifted from Resurrection, as the killer swaps himself with another guy who ends up being killed by the heroine. One would assume it was just coincidence, but the writer is in fact a Fangoria writer, who would certainly be familiar with the films in question (and should know better than to recycle the lamest horror clichés, but that’s a whole other argument). There’s also a few too many homophobic slurs – it made sense in Hostel, here it just seems childish.
There are more than a few unanswered questions at the end of the film. Where did the Kendall character go? Why does Osedach carry a pinecone around with him for most of the film? Why does NO one notice that the killer (who they usually believe to be one of the other characters) has different (and quite visible) eyes than their friends? Why is the killer completely covered in burns when we see that he was merely blasted in the face with steam? And why is the fucking stereo/5.1 option placed inside the extra features, leading me to watch the film in bullshit stereo for the first 20 minutes?
I wouldn’t go so far as to RECOMMEND the film, but hey, like I said yesterday, so long as there’s evidence that the filmmakers are paying attention to what they are doing (though, like yesterday’s film, there’s a bizarre moment where the aspect ratio changes to 2.35:1) and I am more or less entertained, I am inclined to at least give the film a pass. I’ll never watch it again, but I’ve seen far worse just this month.
And there’s occasional lesbian action.
What say you?