Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hallow's End (2003)

Here is another Halloween-themed film plumbed from the depths of Netflix that I decided to give a looksie. You see, I’m on a quest to watch as many Halloween-related horror flicks as possible, no matter how crappy they may be! After having to sit through titles like Mr. Halloween, I wasn’t expecting much with Hallow’s End. In some respects, it was as awful as I expected, but I was surprised that there were instances where I actually enjoyed the film.

Do you remember the Halloween episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Simpsons where the characters become whatever costume they are dressed up as on Halloween night? Hallow’s End is like that, only it is set in a haunted attraction with a higher ratio of terrifying creatures like vampires, zombies and monsters!

Ok, I really have to say I dug the haunted attraction (appropriately called “Hallow’s End”) where the film was set. It was a bare bones haunt (well, what do you expect when frat boys execute it?), but the atmosphere was still Halloween-y. There were lots of great shots of the haunt, the actors of the haunt and patrons in costume and so on, all of which I enjoyed.

However, the film took forever to get going. The first half shows the frat brothers and their girlfriends setting up the haunt (and in the process finding a mysterious spell book that sets everything in motion), but there is too much annoying fighting between the two main male leads. The horrible acting doesn’t really help either. Instead of focusing on the stupid squabbles between characters, I wish the film spent more time on the backstory of the location (the opening scenes show a bunch of Satanists performing a ritual, but the film doesn’t really expand on this confusing intro) and the spell book. There is also a character named Pumpkin Jack that has a large part in the story, but appears on-screen for less than 10 minutes. I found myself wondering more about him than any of the other characters. As for the two main male leads (the good guy vs. the bad guy), they were both unlikable. The “good” guy is wimpy and never defends himself or those around him while the “bad” guy is just a stereotypical asshole and one-dimensional. The fact that both of them have girlfriends in the film is pretty unbelievable.

The real action doesn’t kick in until the last 20 or so minutes of the movie as people start turning into their costumes. We get vampires, zombies, serial killers, etc. and there are some pretty fun scenes here. Nothing too gory or shocking (this is low-budget, after all), but nonetheless entertaining! It doesn’t quite make up for the slow pacing of the beginning of the movie, but at least its interesting and the concept, though half-assed and not developed enough, is pretty original and not your typical slasher.

If you are a Halloween nut, you’ll appreciate the spook house location of Hallow’s End. It’s a low-budget film, but it actually looks quite well-done, especially the sets in the haunt. However, it has some glaring issues, mainly the pacing, acting and storyline. If you are looking for a Halloween-themed movie to watch and have exhausted all the regular Halloween flicks, Hallow’s End might be worth a look, at least for a rental. It certainly isn’t the worst, but it’s far from the best.

Available from Amazon!

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