SCARE ZONE (2022)
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Flick is a Halloween set anthology that centers around a pair of DJs, Paul (Zach Galligan) and Chilly Billy (Corey Taylor), who tell spooky stories on their radio show on Halloween night. Amongst the tales we are trick r’ treated to are one of a little girl (Riley Sutton) with a special power, who gets back at her abusive father (Kevin Wayne) on Halloween, a nasty old man (Bill Pacer) who pays the price for tainting candy and a lonely mortician (Haley Leary) who has a little too much fun with a corpse.
Halloween horror is directed by Scott B. Hansen and Desiree Connell from their script with Thacker Hoffman. It’s a noble low budget effort that shows a love for horror flicks and Halloween. There are some really great Halloween visuals and it’s too bad the stories are definitely a mixed bag. Almost none of the tales feels like a complete story, thought some, like the opening story with little Kyra getting bloody revenge on her drunk jerk of a dad, at least are entertaining. Others, like a delinquent (Ryan Kiser) being trapped in a bathroom by a costumed killer and another about a ride share driver (Kenneth Trujillo) and his buds hunting other humans, are dull and seem to have no point. At least the final story about ghost hunters in a haunted house with a past, climaxes the flick on a spookier note and feels more like a complete story that involves our DJs. The gore effects are good and the cast all perform adequately, but the film could have used some more atmosphere and some legit scares and suspense. The direction is a little flat.
Overall, this is a heartfelt effort that doesn’t quite hit the mark. There are plenty of really cool Halloween visuals and creepy costumes, but the stories never felt complete, save for the final one, and a couple are just plain dull. Maybe one or two less stories and a little more time spent telling the others might have helped. A bit more character and story development to get us emotionally invested. It’s still worth a look on VOD, as the spooky season nears, just don’t expect a new Halloween classic.
Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) jack-o-lanterns.
“Bad Candy follows local Halloween stories of both myth and lessons learned in the community of New Salem. With its annual Psychotronic FM Halloween show, re-enactment radio DJs Chilly Billy and Paul weave the tales of the supernatural of years gone by. In this small town it’s a grimy ending for most, but will a few good souls survive?”
Source: Youtube and IMDB
In 2015 at a Halloween party in the town of Benton, N.Y., Patrick Weaver (Thom Niemann) or “Trick” goes crazy, killing five of his high school classmates and injuring several others, until stopped by pretty schoolmate Cheryl (Kristina Reyes). At the hospital, Trick makes a daring escape attempt while being questioned by Det. Mike Denver (Omar Epps) and Sheriff Lisa Jayne (Ellen Adair). He’s shot several times, falls out a second story window and wanders off collapsing into a nearby river. He’s presumed dead, but the body is never found and each Halloween after, a masked killer shows up in a nearby town on the river and kills a number of people before vanishing. As Trick starts to become famous as an internet Halloween boogeyman, Denver vows to hunt him down and stop him. With evidence leading to Trick’s return to Benton for Halloween 2019, Denver, Sheriff Jayne and Cheryl prepare to meet the killer head on.
Trick is written by My Bloody Valentine 2009 and Drive Angry duo Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier and directed by Lussier. The two were once involved with an official Halloween sequel that never got made and maybe this is the result of that disappointment. And Trick is a bit of a disappointment, as it is kind of a mixed bag of Halloween candy. The script has a number of plot holes and while most horror flicks do, these are a bit jarring, such as why no one in school remembers what Patrick Weaver looked like. It’s a weak contrivance so no one recognizes him when he’s among them and to try to add an air of mystery to him. Lussier directs this flick very by-the-numbers, too and the first hour of the flick seems rushed and devoid of any atmosphere as the story tries to quickly establish Trick as the new boogeyman of All Hallow’s Eve. In fact, it tries way too hard and that forced approach doesn’t make Trick click. It follows the formula a bit too closely and thus seems more like a copy of Carpenter’s classic, early on, than a sincere effort. Things do settle down and Lussier does start to generate some tension and atmosphere once Halloween and Trick arrive in Benton, especially in a scene set in a haunted maze attraction. The last act goes a bit off the rails as the writers try to add a few twists during it’s hospital set conclusion and it takes the flick in a bit of a different direction, which may divide viewers as to whether it works or not. There is some really good gore along the way, though the film looses some points for some awful CGI blood for gunshot hits. The upstate New York settings were a refreshing change from the usual small Midwestern town and it’s too bad they couldn’t have infused the film with more of the Halloween spirit that the upstate New York area has this time of year. It’s a little flat in that department. Again, it tries too hard. Trick’s initial double-sided pumpkin mask and freaky knife are kinda cool, but the new Michael Myers, he sadly is not.
Cast is Good. Omar Epps actually does very well in the Dr. Loomis by way of Fox Mulder role. A veteran detective who is forced into retirement due to his obsession with Trick. Ellen Adair is Scully to Epps’ Mulder as the town sheriff that refuses, at first, to believe Trick is still alive and that this is anything more than a copycat killer. Kristina Reyes makes for a really solid heroine/final girl and it’s too bad it takes the film so long to focus on her. She’s strong, resilient and the actress has an endearing screen charm. Rounding out are supporting roles from Scream’s Jamie Kennedy as a doctor at the town hospital and the legendary Tom Atkins (Halloween III) as a diner owner.
Overall, Not sure what happened, as My Bloody Valentine 2009 is gory, intense and fun, while Drive Angry is simply an all-out hoot. This flick could have used more of those movies’ intensity and over-the-top fun. Trick is not the new Halloween classic one hoped for, though is not a completely smashed pumpkin. It’s attempts to create a new horror icon are rushed and forced, though once Halloween night hits, Trick is an effective killer and there is some really gruesome carnage. The film follows the formula possibly too closely to start, then veers off in a different direction in it’s climactic scenes that may, or may not, work depending on the viewer. There are some bigger than usual plot holes, though it does have it’s moments. A bit of a disappointment from a duo who have made some bloody fun flicks, but certainly not the worst Halloween set horror out there. Might be the type of flick that grows on one with repeat viewings during the spooky season.
Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) Trick masks.