Of course the often cited Halloween series isn’t the only example of horror movies paying tribute to the season of the witch. We’ll celebrate today’s finale of the Halloween movie madness week with the anthology collection All Hallows’ Eve.
All Hallows’ Eve (2013)
(USA 2013, director: Damien Leone)
Babysitter Sarah watches a VHS tape with two children on Halloween the content of which becomes more and more disturbing and real.
The movie is divided into three stories which are only connected by the appearance of a strange grinning psycho clown. What they have in common is their nonsensical endings and exploitative violence. Granted, if it’s done right, one could argue that it’s a throwback to exploitation cinema and guilty pleasure VHS times. But unfortunately all of these short films suffer from terrible amateur acting and pacing problems.
Take the first one for example. A young girl sits alone at a train station and then finds herself underground with more who are dragged away by demonic forces to… well, that’s basically it. The ending doesn’t make one bit of sense, while character development or even identification is non-existent. At least the gory bits and (partly) good monster make-up effects are convincing to keep the horror fan interested, but only for so long.
The second story is even more ridiculous and downright insulting to the eyes of the well-trained horror fan. A woman is (again) alone, this time in her house she recently moved in, while her boyfriend is away. After the typical blabla phone talk with one of her friends, the lights go out and… something comes. What this something is would spoil the laughing-out-in-disbelief moment. It again shows that despite a good setup and some creepy atmosphere a movie can be completely ruined with its ending.
The third short film finally puts the creepy clown in pole slasher position with a young woman stopping at a gas station and then being chased by him/it. Well, and that’s it again. The ending is sick and disgusting, but it’s just as nonsensical as the others.
Now with all these weak short stories the question is if the movie is worth watching at all. Funnily enough, despite all the aforementioned problems, one can’t help but keep watching, because the frame story has a pretty cool ending. Of course whoever watched the original Ring movies knows what happens. But it’s still disturbing enough. Again nonsensical with no explanation, but at least it’s better handled than the individual stories.
It’s a shame that there are so many pacing problems. One can forgive the amateur acting and the uninteresting characters if there was at least some kind of tension. It’s also a missed opportunity that nothing interesting is done with the concept of watching these horror movies. Commenting on them or interrupting them might have put a self-aware twist. What is even more disappointing is that they all have the same problem no short movie collection should suffer: mainly having forgettable endings. So it’s difficult to recommend this movie if there are such excellent anthologies like Trick ‘r Treat or Tales of Halloween, the latter managing to have 10 stories which don’t have any dull moment or disappointing ending.
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