hallows' eve | sean mcgarry | raymond mamrak | danielle harris | courtney baxter | tiffany shepis | slasher | united states | haunt | winter williams | chance michael corbitt | josh flitter | ricky rude | nikki bell | james bagnell | blake baxter | kelly boeckle
Film: Hallows’ Eve
Director: Sean McGarry
Writer: Raymond Mamrak
Starring: Danielle Harris, Raymond Mamrak and Courtney Baxter
This is a movie that I’ll be honest, I had never heard of until my sister told me about it. I’m assuming she checked this out as she is a fan of Danielle Harris and Tiffany Shepis. This is a rather low budget, independent horror film so I was willing to check it out with those two in it and sometimes, movies like this could be gems. I didn’t know much aside from that.
Synopsis: years after a tragic accident that leaves a young child scarred for life, the people responsible pay – with their lives.
We start this movie off with a young girl dragging a wagon. From what I can tell, this is fall. Her name is Eve (Isobel Rose Costello). She is bullied by some kids who are older than her. They call her a tattletale and throw pumpkin guts all over her. She flees from them with only Tommy (David Nicolo) being nice to her. Eve ends up running out in front of a tractor that Matthew Bates (Nicholas Canning) is driving. He gets off it and panics seeing this young girl bleeding.
The movie then jumps 10 years into the present. Matthew (Raymond Mamrak) runs a haunted attraction. He is married to Nicole (Danielle Harris) who helps along with Tommy (Chance Michael Corbitt), Sarah (Tiffany Shepis) and Eugene (James Bagnell). Also, there is Eve (Courtney Baxter) who survived the accident but is now scarred.
We then get introduced to some other characters who will be attending the event. There is Ashley (Ashley C. Williams) who has Joe (Matthew Nadu) bring over her tickets. She comes onto him while knowing he has a girlfriend. He rebuffs her before it goes too far. Ashley is also a pothead who wants to score more from Rudy (Stephen Medvidick). He’s a jerk who picks up the tickets from Sarah and this is where we get to see her standoffish attitude.
Others coming that night are Kate (Nikki Bell), Sarah (Kelly Boeckle), Roy (Joe Raffa) and a couple others. Roy is seeing Joe’s sister and he gets upset when he kisses her in front of him. Roy is also the stepbrother to Sarah. This group is insufferable to be honest. They come to the haunted attraction to drink, smoke and just party. Things don’t go as they plan though as someone is killing members of this group one by one. With the backdrop of the event, the patrons don’t realize some of what they’re seeing is real. Time is limited to figure out who the killer is before it is too late.
That is where I’m going to leave my recap for the movie as being a slasher movie; it doesn’t have the deepest story. It does well in setting up why these teens are being picked off. There are red herrings that are shown and trying to figure out who is behind it. I like the idea that Eve was disfigured and that is the reason for the killings.
What is interesting here is the including of the two scream queens in Harris and Shepis. They are more of recurring minor characters to be honest. Nicole has married the owner of the attraction. I do think it is low hanging fruit to name it Bates Motel, especially when it is a cornfield and it doesn’t seem to feature a motel as one of the sets. She is there to give comfort to Eve though and is overall nice. Sarah, as I said is more standoffish. She became someone that I thought could potentially be the killer from her attitude. It does work for me that she is also the stepsister of Roy.
Something that didn’t work for me as I don’t feel enough was put into the story. I don’t come into slashers expecting them to blow me away with twists. The first issue here is that I wasn’t sure who hurt Eve. I don’t think that was established well enough and what threw me off is that 2 of the mothers of victims showed up to the event. This partially feels like body count, but the only people being killed are those that seemed to have been why Eve is disfigured. Thankfully part of my issue with the timeline was cleaned up by these mother characters. Ashley and that crew are all college age. At first, I thought they were going for high schoolers, but that isn’t the case. The movie does well in whomever the killer is attacking those that weren’t involved, but that only being they are in the wrong place at the wrong time and they need to be knocked out to figure out what is happening.
Moving away from the story, I’ll go to what was the best here, which are the effects. When they went practical, I think they did a great job. The blood looked real and the gore did as well. They were creative with the kills, which I’m always glad for with a slasher. I’d also say the cinematography was good for how they would frame things to help hide what might not look as good, which is strategic. There was a bit of issue with a scene being shown during the day, shifting to another that seems to be at night and then back to a day shot. That confused me, which in turn took me out of what I was seeing though. What I also didn’t like was the CGI. Thankfully they only did it with blood spurting and I’m assuming a bit of green screen. That didn’t hold up for me and it looked fake unfortunately.
To then go to the acting, I thought it was solid. Harris, Shepis and Baxter were probably the best. The latter did overact a bit when it came to being upset. Aside from that, this trio did a solid job. Mamrak was fine as this concerned older brother to Eve and guy who runs this place. I also thought Bagnell and Corbitt were fine in their roles. They were potential suspects and with their anger, which works. The same could be said for Shepis as well. I’m not the biggest fan of our teens though. They are over the top and there was quite a bit of overacting there. It is good that I wanted to see them get murdered.
In conclusion, I think that there are some bright spots to this slasher while also things that were lacking. I must give credit to the practical effects. Those looked good. There are decent performances and the setting is solid. The story is lacking which hurts since I don’t need much for slashers. There was overacting and the CGI wasn’t great. The soundtrack though was solid enough and fit for what was needed. For me, this movie is average. I’m torn between what I like and don’t like so I’ll go right in middle for this reason.
My Rating: 5 out of 10