Directed by Various
Distributed by Image/RLJ Entertainment
I didn’t see the first All Hallows’ Eve movie, but my understanding is that it was in the traditional horror anthology format with three stories and it was pretty good.
All Hallows’ Eve 2, no doubt in an effort to vie for short cyber-attention spans and slay the seasonal horror competition (namely, the multi-story Tales of Halloween), consists of eight parables. There’s certainly nothing new or different about it, but it’s well made and for the most part it’s ably acted.
Here’s the same old set-up: A young woman (Monier), alone on Halloween night, hears strange sounds going on outside her apartment. She opens the door, takes a look, and sees a super-creepy critter skulking around. He’s got on a pumpkin-shaped mask… or is that his actual head? Shudder. She’s not too alarmed though… it’s probably just some costumed nut getting his jollies. Before she closes the door to go back inside, she sees an unmarked VHS tape lying on her doorstep. Of course, she picks it up. Of course, she calls a friend to talk about it. And of course, she has a VCR. She begins to watch, and the initial of the eight stories springs to life. (The first one is the best, but the whole film is worth a watch.)
It’s called “Jack Attack,” and oh-my-gourd! – it’s a gory one. Taken from the vengeful point of view of a carved jack-o-lantern, a babysitter gets more than she figured into her hourly rate when she’s forced to fight for her life in the face of unspeakable orange-tinged terror.
The second story that caught my eye is called “M Is for Masochist.” While it didn’t make the cut for ABCs of Death, it fits right into this anthology of anguish. Taking place at a sideshow circus that’s perhaps a bit too reminiscent of The Devil’s Carnival (even the lead actor looks a lot like Bill Moseley), the sadistic story follows three boys trying their luck at games of chance. In one game, the wheel of fortune, there’s no chance at all… to survive, that is.
Finally, the most suspenseful and compelling installment is also the simplest: It’s titled “Descent” and takes place inside a stalled elevator. There are only two inhabitants… and one is not quite safe to be alone with.
In the end, the wraparound story never really pans out – but when all is said and done, All Hallows’ Eve 2 is as good as any of the competition for your Halloween-tale hankerings.