Hayes has been on a roll lately with the quality of the movies he's picking out for me to review. So far, the last several he has given me have been nice surprises. I'm happy to report that HALLOWEEN NIGHT continues that trend. I really enjoyed this one and will probably watch it again soon. I have to admit, though: this one had me worried. When I read the back of the DVD case, I cringed because the premise sounds VERY familiar. Here it is, straight from the case:
"Based on the actual events of Halloween night, 1982, an inmate of a maximum security medical facility escapes after brutally murdering two guards. Upon returning to the house where he was born, he goes on a killing spree that will make him Southern California's greatest mass murderer."
Egh...how many times of you heard that shtick? BUT, thankfully, the movie is so much more than this brief description lets on. In fact, I would describe it is an inventive and slick thriller that contains a lot of gore, chills, and even dark humor.
One thing that is surprisingly not mentioned in the synopsis is the fact that the killer is a horribly disfigured teen who has been burned beyond recognition. I gotta tell you: the burn make-up job for this character is excellent. The effects team probably didn't have a huge budget to work with, but you can't tell that from looking at this guy's face. Wow. He's so hideous that he makes Freddy Krueger look like a super-model. Even with the make-up aside, the special effects overall are very well done and the gore is very believable. One of the greatest gore effects comes about in the beginning, when the main character's mother has part of her head blown off. Not to sound freakish, but I was very impressed. There are also many other death scenes that are fun to watch as well, including a girl's unique demise using a wooden hangar.
The film is shot well, although my only complaint about it visually is that I feel like the lighting was off in certain scenes. The lack of light in some scenes gives the shots a grainy look, while there is too much light in a couple of the later shots. But this is hardly noticeable and certainly doesn't detract from the frights. The cast was top-notch, too, which is (as I've stated in previous reviews) surprising, given the low budget of the film. The members of the cast were able to lend credibility to their characters and throw in a great deal of dark humor with each of them as well. This is not an easy thing to do, but director Mark Atkins and his team pull it off without a hitch.
Overall, I give this movie high marks all the way around. If you're looking for the perfect late-night Halloween movie to watch, give Halloween Night a look for sure. But make sure you've eaten first before you sit down to watch. The blood and gore might not take you to Vomit-town, but the ghastly appearance of the killer's burned skin probably will.
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