HALLOWEEN PARTY (2019)
Directed by Jay Dahl
Written by Jay Dahl
Starring Amy Groening, T. Thomason, Marietta Laan, Shelley Thompson, Jeremy Akerman, Zach Faye, Scott Bailey, Taylor Olson, Taylor Olson, Murlane Carew, Geneviève Steele, Jamie Bradley, Catherine Richardson, Jackson Meisner, Jane Luk, Simon Sinn, Jason Daley, Ben Legere, Jordan Talbot, Tom Niles, Jason Morley, Morgan Melnyk, Devon Taylor, Lisa Hackett, Kalei Cochrane, Jordan McMurray, Isabel Kanaan, Bradley Bailey, Struan Sutherland, Bailey Maughan, Christina Spruin, Taylor Long, David Gibson McLean, Lena Andriani, Mary Giang Nguyen, Riley Wilson, Hayden Baker
Find out more about this film here!!
I’m trying to catch up on my October horrors and stumbled on one I wish I would have reviewed earlier. HALLOWEEN PARTY is one I am glad I caught up with.
Grace (Amy Groening) seeks the aid of computer geek Spencer (T. Thomason) when she stumbles across a virus asking the user what their greatest fear is. When a few friends who receive the app end up dying from their greatest fear, the two students uncover a dark secret involving a closed down hospital unit housing deformed children who created a monstrous curse to lash out on the perfect world that shunned them, that just so happens to be on the very site their dorm room rests upon.
Yes, the threat is rather convoluted and also a little humorous as it appears some kids in a hospital unit in the 90’s were able to use their rudimentary knowledge of computing and limited computer resources on a hospital budget to create a virus that would threaten people today. It’s also kind of funny that when they uncover footage from those early days of computing and it looks like it was footage unearthed from the 70’s. Nevertheless, this is a fun and occasionally scary little horror film. I found myself enchanted with this GOOSEBUMPS style tale that incorporates everything and the kitchen sink to toss at a viewer in hopes to scare them. We have evil deformed children, environmental pollution, greatest fears, computer viruses, and all kinds of nightmare creatures that represent the cast’s greatest fears. The film mixes body horror with elements from THE RING and even FINAL DESTINATION, but does so in a clever way that feels original. Because the plot keeps moving and evolving, the story becomes rather unpredictable and that’s what I really look for in horror.
There are quite a few well-choreographed fear sequences that utilize tension in a very deft way. There’s even a sequence that takes place in the dark towards the end that might be [REC]/QUATANTINE-esque, but still works really well. HALLOWEEN PARTY also possesses a very quirky and clever script and exhibits a sense of humor that is much stronger than most horror films you’re going to see. It also helps that the actors saying these quips, putdowns, retorts, and jokes are talented. Amy Groening and T. Thomason have a great rapport with one another as they attempt to figure out this mystery, making them likable protagonists and worth the investment.
I wish the film had a bigger budget for effects. Some of the practical effects work well. The pig man that shows up early is surprisingly well done as it appears it is a pig wearing a cartoonish pig mask over its pig face (a nightmarish image, for sure). But when the film relies upon CG effects they are over the top and look like they were rendered with a very rudimentary computer program. Still, director/writer Jay Dahl limits the amount of CG effects (though he does have a tendency to shove them in your face for jump scares). I was really taken to HALLOWEEN PARTY, not necessarily a Halloween movie, per se, as the hospital called all of the gatherings of the evil kids a Halloween Party because they wore masks all of the time. It’s funny, clever, and most importantly scary, delivering horrors I haven’t seen before. If you’re missing the month of October already, check out HALLOWEEN PARTY and I think you’ll be surprisingly spooked.