Starring Mitchell Musolino, Will Stout, Lexi Dripps
Directed by Justin M. Seaman
If you were one of the multitudes of horror aficionados that cut their teeth on the abundance of VHS chillers back in the mid-80’s, then you’ve got to be overjoyed with the plethora of “throwback” flicks that have been unleashed over the course of the last few years. To remember such plastic-cased classics is a thing of beauty, and to revisit them is even more special, but the notion of a tribute to those films that entertained us is a whole other beast, entirely. Allow me to introduce the latest barbarian into the fray: The Barn from director Justin M. Seaman, and suffice it to say, it’s beginning to feel a lot like 1989.
The opener of this one takes us back to Halloween 1959, and the setting is Wheary Falls, a small town with a large backing from the local church, and the annual hootenanny is underway, and all that’s asked of the partygoers from the pastor is that they BY ALL MEANS, stay clear of the abandoned barn on the other side of town. Now you honestly didn’t think that everyone was going to take the holy man’s words to heart, did you? Here’s where things get interesting (without giving any spoilers away)- what happens at the front door to the barn to a youngin’ is masterful, and this is not by any means me cementing myself as a sadistic bastard, but to pull off what Seaman does within the first 4 minutes is not only ballsy and unapologetic, but it sets a tone for the rest of the film. Flash-forward to good old 1989, and the town’s biggest Halloween celebrators, Sam and Josh (Musolino and Stout) are doing what they enjoy every Autumn: scaring the cheez-whiz out of the locals and pissing off every party-pooper in town. Their friendship has stood the test of Josh’s father’s passing, and together they compliment each other’s twisted sense of humor. When a seemingly harmless prank goes terribly wrong, the two have it broken down to them that their days of jerking around MUST come to an abrupt end.
As the impending thoughts of a stagnant existence overwhelm the two, their hopes are somewhat realigned with the news that their favorite heavy metal band will be playing a one-night only show on you guessed it, Halloween. So with a group of pals in tow, the gathering decides that a shortcut to the show is the best route (which it never is), and damned to all hell, wouldn’t you know where the shortcut drops our collection of misguided adolescents? – yep, right at the doors of the barn itself. Seems the legends of the barn’s inhabitants, The Boogeyman, Hallowed Jack and The Candycorn Scarecrow aren’t just tall tales after all – these creepy suckers are violent, unrepentant, and just not in the Halloween mood. Supported by a couple of entertaining cameos from Linnea Quigley and Ari Lehman, the cast does an admirable job in pulling off performances that are effectually cheesy and fitting for a movie such as this. Oh, and fans of gore? I sincerely hope you brought the biggest damn plastic pumpkin you could find to this film’s doorstep, cause it’s going to get filled to the brim with enough blood and guts to keep you fed for weeks after – screw the candy, viscera’s where it’s at! There’s even a few decent-sized laughs sprayed around in this one to keep things a little bit light from time to time. Overall, I can without a doubt recommend The Barn to everyone looking for a fun, retro trip back to the days of grainy, low-budgeted horror yanked directly off the racks of your local video rental shop – this one will sit firmly entrenched in my top 5 of the best horror films for 2016. Available NOW on both DVD and VHS from thebarnmerch.com – hell, there’s all sorts of goodies available for your last minute X-Mas shopping, so get on over and pick up a little something for the demented ones in your life!