All Hallow’s Eve 2 (2015)

AHE2_DVD_HICHappy day 18 of my #31DaysOfHorror! As always, I hope you’re having a spooktacular October, and that you’ve found at least one movie you’ve enjoyed from reading these reviews. Please feel free to leave comments, and suggestions for me, and feel free to follow @TheBarleyGuy on Instagram and Twitter. Anyways, on to the movie of the day, All Hallow’s Eve 2.

A woman finds a VHS tape on her doorstep that shows a series of gruesome tales that could be real. But the true danger is the pumpkin-faced killer that’s using the tape to find his next victim.

The sequel to a 2013 movie that I saw last year, but apparently didn’t review (I was lazier then, what can I say), this movie replaces the spooky clown, with a spooky pumpkin-face and is an anthology film in the vein of Creepshow and V/H/S. There are a whopping 9 segments in this movie, all with different writers and directors, where the first film is all written and directed by one person. It’s worth noting that that person doesn’t appear to have anything to do with this one. As with all anthology movies, this one has segments that are better than others, and I was pleasantly surprised that this one actually had a few good ones in it.

The wrap around segment is pretty dull all told, a woman finds a tape and watches it, and eventually gets killed by a guy with a pumpkin face. It’s pretty hollow, but I suppose it’s not supposed to be terrible interesting. It is the weakest of the bunch, and that’s a shame, the wraparound of an anthology should at least be engaging. I found myself really enjoying the first segment, called Jack Attack, despite my rage at watching the babysitter fundamentally fuck up all first aid, and perform a tracheotomy on a child. That said, it was one of the more grim of the lot, and provided a good indication of how far the movie was willing to go, I mean, killing a kid in a horror movie is rare, and doing it in such a grim and bizarre way is even more strange. I might even recommend the movie on that segment alone.

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The production value on all of the segments varies pretty wildly, as does the acting, but overall the movie is pretty watchable and does have some pretty original and creative story ideas. From strange, post apocalyptic trick-or-treaters, to sadistic carnival games, the movie does touch on a little bit of everything. I do wish that it had stayed on theme a bit better, some of them don’t appear to be Halloween themed at all, and are just scary little short films, and that does take away from a movie with the title All Hallow’s Eve. If you’re going to imply a running theme, then you should stick to it, or change the title. It’s not as though the first movie had some kind of huge brand recognition behind it. Plus, missing the clown from the first movie makes this one feel even farther removed from the original, as the clown seemed to weave his way into most of the segments.

As with most short films, a number of the segments run into the problem of not being long enough to effectively communicate the story. Particularly, a segment where three young boys play a carnival game called “the masochist”, and find that the victim is one of the kid’s father, there really isn’t enough time spent setting up that this kid has a hate for his dad more than most kids dislike their parents, and he seems to get really ok with torturing his dad. Short films, at their best, are most effective when they don’t over complicate the story or try and shove too much into a short space. When that happens, they often feel like pre-made trailers for a larger movie that doesn’t exist and that can be a bit distracting.

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All told, the movie is far from unwatchable. It has a pretty fun assortment of films, and it would be interesting to see what these film makers work on next. As you should expect, some are better than others, but the ones that work really do work (even if they aren’t exactly Halloween themed). One that worked for me was a story about a son and his mother, dealing with a monster under the bed. The ending seemed a bit rushed, but it was pretty engaging and interesting (though, you can get a better version from The Babadook…). So, if you’ve seen it all, why not check this one out?

RATING: ***

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