28 October 2015

ALL HALLOWS' EVE 1 + 2

ALL HALLOWS' EVE

German Title:
All Hallows' Eve - Komm raus und spiel!

USA, 2013
Director: Damien Leone

7/10








It's really, really hard to keep track of all the horror films that get released on DVD/VOD these days. Some simply fall through the cracks without ever attracting my attention, like this one, "All Hallows' Eve", a horror anthology I haven't heard of before - until I stumbled upon a press release for the sequel just a couple of weeks ago. The synopsis sounded interesting enough, and so I checked out both - and glad I did!


I admit, the basic idea behind "All Hallows' Eve" is lazy: director Damian Leone simply took his two short films "The 9th Circle" (2008) and "Terrifier" (2011), shot some new material (a new segment + a framing story) and cobbled it all together. Fortunately (compared to similar films where this cheapo concept didn't work, like "E.N.D." or the "Treasure Chest of Horrors" films), Leone made it work so very well, there's not much to complain about.

A babysitter finds an old VHS tape in the kids' trick-or-treat bag. The tapes includes three pretty horrifying short films, all linked together by a cool/scary-looking and extremely muderous clown. After the babysitter finished watching the tape, strange things begin to occur in the house and she realizes that the clown might be bloody reality...


Some of the acting isn't exactly good and the second segment (the new one) is a bit strange because it doesn't really fit in and has a rather mediocre payoff - but everything else is just great. There's tons of badass and super-gruesome gore, many extremely suspenseful and stunningly well-paced scenes, there's lots of eerie, effective music that keeps the tension running, the babysitter-wraparound works much better than I initially expected, and holy hell, the clown (called 'Art') is really freaking scary! Also, the whole thing possesses a wonderful 80s vibe and an absolutely excellent Halloween atmosphere, that makes it a perfect watch for your next, erm, All Hallows' Eve ;-) Great!




ALL HALLOWS' EVE 2

USA, 2015
Directors: Jesse Baget, Bryan Norton,
Antonio Padovan, Marc Roussel, Ryan Patch, Jay Holben, James Kondelik, Jon Kondelik, Elias Benavidez, Mike Kochansky & Andrés Borghi

8/10







Production company Ruthless Pictures is currently developing an interesting business model that gives young filmmakers the chance to reach wide audiences: they buy various horror-themed indie short films and release them as anthology movies via VOD and DVD. So far, so good. However, the way they're doing that is a bit questionable. Ok, when it comes to features like "Zombieworld" or "Monsterworld", there's nothing to complain
but when it comes to in-name-only sequels, it's getting weird. For example: they released a sequel to indie feature "The Invoking", consisting of 6 short films from acclaimed short film directors like Patrick Rea or Corey Norman. The trouble is: none of these shorts have anything to do with the first part... and, well, the first part wasn't even an anthology!

Now, they did a sequel to "All Hallows' Eve", consisting of 8(!!!) segments and a frame story that is at least slightly similar to the first part. The segments are of course 8 independently made short films that have nothing to do with the first "All Hallows' Eve" and were simply cobbled together. And the frame story is so unbelievably unimaginative, so incredibly shoddy, it's almost aggravating. Fortunately, nearly all of the short films are so fucking great, it makes you forget about the terrible wraparound. Say what you want about Ruthless Pictures, but in case of "All Hallows' Eve 2", they did a good job.


"JACK ATTACK" (2013), directed by Bryan Norton & Antonio Padovan - 9/10
A babysitter and a boy and a super-dangerous pumpkin. A marvellously entertaining and wonderfully macabre flick, that is totally on the same level of genius as "Trick 'R Treat" or the "Sweet Tooth"-segment in "Tales of Halloween". Wow!

"THE LAST HALLOWEEN" (2013), directed by Marc Roussel - 9/10
I've already seen, reviewed and loved the hell out of this fantastic short film, and I even made it onto one of its promotional posters (see here) - and it's still one helluva piece of awesomeness, following 4 trick-or-treaters on an eerie journey through the night.


"THE OFFERING" (2013), directed by Ryan Patch - 7/10
A father and his son in a dark forest, making an offering to a mysterious force. Maybe a bit too long and the ending is a bit too odd for my taste, but overall a very well made and breathtakingly atmospheric short.

"DESCENT" (2004), directed by Jay Holben - 9/10
Unbelievably gripping shocker about a woman who finds herself trapped in an elevator together with the man who killed her best friend. Has obviously nothing to do with the British "The Descent" films, but in terms of tension and suspense, it's similarly intense.


"M IS FOR MASOCHIST" (2013, a.k.a "Masochist"), directed by the Kondelik Brothers - 5/10
The only segment in "All Hallows' Eve 2" that is 1) not that good and 2) doesn't really fit in. At least, the wonderful Bill Oberst Jr. is in it, delivering a cool performance as carnie.

"A BOY'S LIFE" (2011), directed by Elias Benavidez - 9/10
Aside from the awkward and improper title (wasn't that a movie with Di Caprio and De Niro? ;-), this is clearly one of the best attempts in creating a film about a kid who's afraid of some terrifying monster under his bed incl. amazing acting, splendid pacing and a badass ending.


"MR. TRICKER'S TREAT" (2011), directed by Mike Kochansky - 7/10
Starts out a bit strange, but ends up super-fun. A woman discovers why the Halloween decorations in her neighbor's garden look so incredibly lifelike. Could have been a tad longer IMO, but aside from that, I enjoyed it.

"ALEXIA" (2013), directed by Andrés Borghi - 8/10
Imagine a mix of "Unfriended" and classic J-Horror à la "Ringu" or "Ju-On": that's "Alexia", a top-notch little chiller about a teenager who realizes that it wasn't a good idea to delete his dead girlfriend from his Facebook.

Despite the above-mentioned shoody wraparound (which at least has one good moment when a girl tells her girlfriend "Of course I have a VCR. Yeah, how much better "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" looks on VHS than BluRay. Oh, BluRay makes everything look fake."), this anthology was right up my alley. It obviously helps if you regularly watch indie short films, but... well, even if you're more of a non-short-film-watcher... if go into it open-minded, you should enjoy it about as much as I did!

6 comments:

  1. Absolutely love both of these. Great stories and truly underrated films. Great write up.

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  2. now see, this is why I love going to your blog and respect you as a blogger; our taste differs. Weirdly.

    All Hallow's Eve is a friggin great time for me. A bit of a cheat, yes, but I think all the shorts, especially the last, have great value in terms of production and creep factor. (plus I love the extended scenes on the first segment)

    The second Hallow's Eve, sadly, felt too lazy for me; yes, I do understand that this might help indie-directors out there the recognition they deserve but some of these shorts just didn't work for me:

    Jack Attack actually made me excited for the entire film so I can give that one my approval. Messy kills are always welcome for me.

    Last Halloween...God, I...don't get it. It's this artsy thing, I get that, but what does it mean?! I'm lost and if there is anything to like about that film for me, it's the ghost. I love that monster design.

    The Offering looked like just two dudes frightened by some unseen thing...which is because that is the story and I'd seen this stick before. It's just...unoriginal for me.

    Descent is pretty okay. Intense, I'll give it that, so kudos, I guess.

    Masochist's concept is great but I can tell why ABCs of death didn't take it. Too quick.

    A Boy's Life is pretty heart-warming. I'm not a big fan of the surprise ending cuz it felt too mean-spirited and I do wish the director would do something to continue this. I effin hate cliff-hangers.

    Mr. Tricker's Treat... wow, so many plot holes that it isn't funny for me.

    Alexia, now that was great! A little weird seeing we already got Unfriended but I'm guessing this was made before so I'll also cut it some slack. Great creeps alright!

    The wraparound...is shit, yeah, I'll agree with you on that one. That was absolute shit...but yeah, this is my entire feeling for the movie. But I'm glad to see you are this supportive of these people and I guess that helped lessen the blows on my end. Good write up, Harry!

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  3. You may have heard of 'All Hallows Eve' from when I reviewed it last year. Thanks for reading, Maynard. :-)

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  4. These sound cool, especially for Halloween. Thanks for the recaps & reviews. Wishing you a very Happy Halloween! :)

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  5. These do sound awesome.

    It's a day of creepy films and books for me, today.

    Happy Halloween! :)

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  6. I'm not against seeing either of these movies.

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