All Hallows’ Eve 2 (2015)
I just finished posting my review of TALES OF HALLOWEEN, and no sooner did it post than I’m writing a review for yet another Halloween anthology film, ALL HALLOW’S EVE 2. This is an anthology made up of eight short films by eight different filmmakers, each about a particular aspect of Halloween. There is a superfluous wraparound story that has no payoff (we’ll get to that), but the individual stories here are pretty interesting.
Ignoring the opening wraparound story for the time being, the anthology has a damn strong opening with the two short films, “Jack Attack” and “The Last Halloween.” “Jack Attack” (written and directed by Bryan Norton and Antonio Padovan) is the story of a pumpkin who doesn’t much like being turned into a Jack-o-Lantern, so it exacts some gory revenge on its attackers. “Jack Attack” is an effective short that I actually had the privilege of seeing a couple years ago. At a tight eight-minute runtime, there is no filler here. Elizabeth (Helen Rogers) is babysitting Jack (Tyler Rossell). It is Halloween and Liz curves a pumpkin and roasts the seeds for them to enjoy–except the pumpkin is pissed. What begins as a sentimental, sweet short ends in a gross display of gore and revenge. I love “Jack Attack.”
“The Last Halloween” is a great follow up to the first story and really kept the ball rolling. In this story (directed by Marc Roussel, written by Roussel and Mark Thibodeau–which is based on Thibodeau’s comic book), we join a few “kids” as they go out trick or treating on Halloween night. Immediately the viewer realizes that something isn’t right as the landscape looks like a war zone. Soon it becomes apparent that the trick or treaters are more interested in doling out tricks than getting treats. This is another short and sweet story that moves quickly and has some great makeup effects. This is one neighborhood you want to stary away from!! This is also the one short in this anthology that I really wanted to see as a feature length film.
Just like in TALES OF HALLOWEEN, there were no stories that I out and out didn’t like. All the entry’s were fun and well made. I was a little disappointed with the short, “Descent” (written and directed by Jay Holben and Christopher Probst). The story was lifted right from an old Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV show. In it, Vanessa (Renee Intlekofer) witnesses a murder. When after a case of bad luck she is stranded in an elevator with the man who committed the murder, she decides to go on the offensive. But there’s just one problem. You’re going to have to see what happens (no spoilers here). But the “twist”–if you want to call it that–was lifted straight from an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. But on the positive side, the acting and cinematography were fantastic. I was just disappointed by the originality.
The other two that I enjoyed the most are “Mr. Tricker’s Treat” (directed by Mike Kochansky and written by Kochansky and Mark Byers), where a girl (Carrie Seim) finds out the hard way what makes Mr. Tricker’s (Michael Serrato) Halloween decorations look so life-like, and “Alexia” (directed and written by Andreas Borghi), one of the stories not connected to the Halloween theme. In “Alexia,” a guy’s girlfriend who killed herself still haunts him through the computer and social media. “Alexia” is downright scary and is a very effective ghost story with elements of RINGU in it. “Alexia” was breathtaking to look at and we get some fantastic and unique camera angles and colors.
Think of ALL HALLOW’S EVE 2 as the poorer cousin of TALES OF HALLOWEEN. I still haven’t discussed the wraparound story because it really isn’t worth it. It felt tagged on, like they forgot they needed one and quickly threw something together. But the eight short films here will entertain you and will put a smile on your face this Halloween season. Check this one out.
Directors: Jesse Baget, Elias Benavidez, Andrés Borghi, Jay Holben, Mike Kochansky, James Kondelik, Jon Kondelik, Bryan Norton, Antonio Padovan, Ryan Patch, and Marc Roussel
Plot: 3.5 out of 5 stars for the entire anthology
Gore: 5 out of 10 skulls for the entire anthology
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains for the entire anthology
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer