Director: Sean McGarry
Year of release: 2014
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 80 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: Both
Tag lines: "Halloween will never be the same again" and "They thought they had nothing to fear, they were dead wrong".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: Just to make things clear from the outset it is the low rent slasher from 2014 starring Danielle Harris that I'll be looking at here and not the clown themed and similarly titled All Hallow's Eve.
After being chased through a cornfield by bullies a young girl with a stutter named Eve stumbles into the path of a tractor which hits her and leaves her with a terrible injury to one side of her face. Ten years later the same farm that was the site of the accident is being used to host a Halloween carnival style party where Eve, now a teenager, is helping out as a staff member along with some of her family. As the festivities begin in honor of Halloween the people who chased Eve ten years ago and caused her to be hit by the tractor are in attendance as guests at the party. Or rather perhaps it is the children of the bullies in attendance as absurd and impossible as that sounds seeing that it has only been ten years but the film seems to imply this without being very clear. In any case they soon begin to be picked off in gruesome ways by someone wearing a staff uniform.
Good points: As already stated Danielle Harris is among the cast so a high profile name that slasher fans will be very familiar with. As nice as it is to have a recognisable face be aware that she is very much reduced to the role of a bit part player so doesn't get all that much screen time. I found that kind of surprising really as with this being a low budget affair you would have thought they would have spent much of the bank role on her salary so you would have thought would have wanted to get more use out of her. Away from her character there isn't really anyone to write home about though there are some stoner type characters, Rudy being the main one that are mildly entertaining and inject a little fun into the proceedings.
The kills are decent and gory at times as well and are the highlight of an otherwise pretty dreary affair. Although the budget is small leaving the special effects looking a bit hokey and cheesy they certainly make an effort here to give us something to sink our teeth into. Among other things we see a face bashing, a drill kill, a decapitation and intestines spilling out of a stomach wound. The kills are leaning more towards the over the top Hatchet style which may not be to everyone's taste but you can tell they've tried hard in this area to give the film some life.
Although it is not initially clear what the function is that the tickets are being sold for at the farm (I at first thought it was some sort of music festival) once it gets properly showcased the Halloween carnival makes for a good backdrop with some spooky looking props. It also enables the use of that old chestnut where people see dead bodies but just assume they are decorations and part of the set and thus don't become alarmed.
Bad Points: Firstly I'll touch on some minor issues. There are two things that I felt were under utilised and not properly established the first being Eve's stutter which was barely in evidence after the beginning so they might as well not have bothered. Secondly it is revealed in one scene she is having some sort of relationship with one of the staff workers named Tommy who was also present in the opening sequence but actually tried to stand up for her a bit but again it is so bare bones and glossed over it adds nothing to the story. Another small issue involved the drug dealer and his cousin as when they were on the hayride we see them get kicked off by a burly fat man but we don't see why so it comes across as odd. Earlier one of them was talking to a woman which seemed to anger the fat man but just prior to being thrown off they hadn't done anything but the fat guy was acting as if it was the final straw and he was justified in chucking them off.
The key problem with the whole thing though is that it comes across as extremely confusing as to who all the characters are, how they know each other, which ones are related, friends or dating and indeed how the people getting killed in the main body of the film correspond with the bullies we saw at the beginning. The scene at the start with Eve getting injured was too short I thought and it doesn't give us enough of a chance to establish names or learn anything about them (the bullies) so when we see them again as adults later we can't differentiate between them and even tell for sure if it is supposed to be the same people we saw in the opening sequence. So when people start getting bumped off we are unsure who it is that is actually being killed as it is a struggle to link them to anyone we saw at the start as they all look completely different. In a bizarre turn of events towards the end it is actually hinted at that they are in fact the children of the bullies which makes no sense seeing that they are all supposed to be in their late teens/early twenties but the opening scene was only ten years ago. I'm sure they were hinting it was the kids of the bullies being killed though as at the end two older women show up (who look to be in their early forties) who are apparently two of the bullies from the opening scene and it was their daughters that we actually saw being killed earlier. There was also a weak reason for them being summoned with the killer stealing the phones of victims and then presumably using them (off screen) to text the mothers to request they bring their coats as they were feeling cold. But what kid would request there mother to bring them a coat at a party? I'm surprised the mothers fell for it. But of course the main issue is that the none of the ages add up once the mothers get involved and what was already confusing and hard to follow turns into even more of a mess.
The ending was also a bit muddled and it wasn't entirely clear what they were trying to establish as it was poorly executed. This is a spoiler here but I think they were trying to imply there were two killers working together with Eve being one of them though I could be getting that wrong as with like everything else it was confusing. If Eve was in on it, it was odd that Tommy got murdered. Like I say it just wasn't at all clear what they were trying to imply.
Verdict: Very poor indeed and something that was a struggle to sit through in parts. It isn't completely useless with some nice kills at least and Danielle Harris fans may be interested in taking a look just due to her involvement. I have to say though that although there are worse slashers out there this is firmly entrenched in the lower tier with precious little to recommend it.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1) Dark haired bath tub girl: Face bashed repeatedly into a car door.
2) Ashley: Stabbed in the stomach, intestines and guts gradually spill out.
3) Blonde girl: Impaled on a spike sticking out of the wall.
4) Brunette (Tine maybe): Killed with a drill to the eye.
5) Man: Decapitated.
6) Rudy: Killed with a chainsaw.
7) Mother #1 (Beth?): Stabbed from behind.
8) Danielle Harris' characters half brother: Axe to the top of the head.
9) Tommy: Top of head cut off with a machete.
10) Matthew: Shot by the Danielle Harris character.
11) Mother #2 Donna: Throat cut while in her hospital bed.