I don’t really know what lead me to pick this week’s movie. I guess last weeks’ made me feel such little sympathy for a white man that I wanted to see a couple of them squirm. Unfortunately, I feel like I’ve seen this movie before and done much better, so no cigar – although the costumes. The costumes are very good.
On Halloween, a group of friends encounter an “extreme” haunted house that promises to feed on their darkest fears. The night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realization that some nightmares are real.
Harper (Katie Stevens) and roommate Bailey (Lauryn Alisa McClain) are getting ready for a Halloween party when they mildly argue about Harper’s deadbeat boyfriend. Then they go to a bar to meet their friends, Mallory and Angela. The girls also pick up two guys and decide to go on a drive together.
Harper spends most of this time convinced she’s being followed by a man in a devil mask. Could it be shithead boyf?
On the road the rag tag bunch stumble across a haunted house attraction and decide to have a sniff around. Eager to go in – ‘cos why wouldn’t you? – they’re forced to hand over their cellphones and sign liability waivers. And honestly, you can kind of guess the rest because you’ve almost certainly seen it all before.
But we’re here for a review and a review you’ll get. If you could just sign this waiver first… lol.
The crew are impressed right away by the realism of the horror – obviously they’ve never been to the Ghost Train on Palace Pier – and are delighted when they witness a hysterical woman being murdered horribly. Things get a little ookier when they’re quickly separated.
Bailey, Nathan and Angela enter a room welcoming them to ‘Guess the Body Part’ by feeling their way around a series of armholes, while the others (don’t worry about the names) find themselves in some tunnels. Each wish they’d stayed home and watched Michael Myers do all the work instead.
Of course Bailey is cut badly, Mallory gets lost and when they start to realise the error of this evening’s decision, they discover the doors are locked and there’s no way out. Noooooo! Their future fate is sealed when they see a witch mask wearing motherfucker drive a poker through Mallory’s head. Finally they believe they’re in danger and send Nathan (Will Brittain) back through the building to find an exit. Lucky ol’ Nath.
During his mission, Nathan befriends a ‘ghost’ who calls himself Mitch and he offers to help the group out by showing them how to get through the tunnels without incident. I’m not sure about his authenticity but beggars can’t be choosers and all that. Honestly, I’m already tired of this so all you need to know is that we begin to learn the motivations of the ‘performers’ and it’s dumb as hell. Basically, they’re a body modification cult who like to steal people’s faces and make themselves look like ‘real monsters’.
Along the way, Harper rather generously calls her boyfriend to come get her, and then she and one of the generic white dudes fight to the death – Harper with a man in a devil’s mask. Oooooooh!
Will anyone make it – and honestly, will you care?
The ending of this is quite good, I’ll give it that. I also really do like the aesthetic of the Halloween performers’ masks (not the skin ones). And the only character they really bother to invest in is Harper who’s immediately pegged designated Final Girl. They’ve given her a backstory which features an abusive father and flashbacks to the trauma suffered at his hands. As she’s able to use her rage and pain to kick the shit out of the meaty flesh cult leader, I don’t hate it.
I wish I’d liked this more. I wish they’d put more into making it fun. I wish it was scarier. There’s one horrible kill that was just glorious but apart from that, this is very forgettable. And if you really feel the need to watch a teen horror about a killer Halloween attraction gone to pot, I’d say Hell Fest (2018) is better.