All Hallows’ Eve

All Hallows' Eve

All Hallows’ Eve (2013)

After a night of trick or treating, two children find an unmarked VHS tape in one of their bags and convince their babysitter to let them watch three tales of terror.

“All Hallows’ Eve” is a brief anthology film with three stories linked by a creepy clown. The first tale features a woman who is kidnapped one night and thrust into a dark dungeon of despair and demons…and worse.  It’s surprisingly atmospheric with an overall look that draws you into its dank and brooding realm.  The second story is a bit weaker, but well executed as a woman alone at home one night finds herself confronted with mysterious invaders.  Finally, a woman traveling alone one night finds herself chased by an unstoppable and unfeeling psychopath, leaving a trail of murder in their wake.  As these stories play out, the babysitter becomes more and more terrified of the menacing clown who makes his appearance known throughout the films, his aura of dread eventually infusing the house before building to a chilling conclusion.

Observant readers may have noticed that all of those stories have been done before.  Indeed, even the wraparound story borrows heavily from other films.  But somehow it all works.  The tension throughout, and in particular as the wraparound story advances, is palpable.  The clown, despite being possibly the most generic possible element to unite a group of scary stories, is understated enough to keep from stealing the show or turning the proceedings into a caricature of horror.  It’s all very formulaic and largely predictable, but it works on a cult film level.  Shot on a very limited budget, the film isn’t without some technical warts, but the storytelling, pacing and even small touches like framing, lighting and set design all make this film stand out as something that makes you wonder what director Damien Leone could do with a real budget.  This film will never gain the cult status of “Trick R Treat” or “Trilogy of Terror”, but with its well-crafted stories and the brooding menace of Art the Clown, it should definitely make the list of films to watch on All Hallows’ Eve.
Stars: 3.5/5

 

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