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ALL HALLOWS’ EVE (2013): Second Opinion Review…Film Feels Out Of Place And Disjointed

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All Hallows’ Eve 2013 Review

With Halloween serving as my favorite holiday, and being a lover of all things horror, naturally I’m prone to jump on any Halloween-themed horror films out there.  All Hallows’ Eve (2013) is no exception.  In essence it’s an anthology flick, complete with three tales of terror, weaved through a frame narrative about trick or treaters who find a cryptic unmarked VHS tape in one of their bags.  Said tape features said tales of terror, as the children watch against their reluctant babysitter’s wishes.

Two of the three tales are actually previously released short films, The 9th Circle (2008) and Terrifier (2011), and feature a seemingly mute trickster known as Art the Clown.  These are undeniably creepy segments, compliments of Art, whose personality seems like a cross between the Joker and Pennywise, only without the talking.  His appearance is more of a mime than circus clown, which goes against the usual killer clown approach on film, and it’s a welcome change.  Unfortunately, Art is the only scary thing about these segments, as the plots are very routine, which rely more on gruesome shock value than original storytelling.  The standout segment, about a girl tormented by aliens, doesn’t feature Art the Clown at all, and is naturally the worst part of the movie.

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It must be good there’s a scary clown it in!

The best parts are the frame narrative, who once the kids go to bed, their babysitter continues watching the tape on her own.  Although the kids are painfully annoying, I like the self-aware approach of these scenes, which waste no time referencing the familiar horror movie-esque scenario, and the babysitter has a refreshingly rational approach to the whole thing.  This is also the only part that even remotely evokes a sense of Halloween.  None of the segments really have anything to do with the All Hallows’ Eve, and overall don’t feel like they belong in the same movie.  I suppose that’s sort of the point, since the VHS tape is supposed to be of mysterious origin, but they could have done more to incorporate what I thought the title was suggesting.  I like the VHS tape approach, as it’s more convincing than the usual “found footage” fare, but I almost wish the entire movie would have focused on a babysitter on Halloween night (sound familiar?) and left the rest out of it.

I’m willing to bet the original short films directed by Damien Leone are more effective as stand alone shorts, whereas their inclusion within this feature film feels out of place and disjointed. Art the Clown is a very scary character who I think could easily carry his own feature. Perhaps this would have been the better approach, and if Leone ever does decide to make a feature length Art the Clown movie, I’m totally there.

 

ALL HALLOWS’ EVE (2013) Second Opinion Review: Film Feels Out Of Place And Disjointed

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Peter DiGiovanni

Freelance writer and aspiring filmmaker, lover of all things horror and wishes it were Halloween every day

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