I don’t go in to movies wanting to dislike them, which pleases me when a movie manages to surprise me the way “All Hallows’ Eve 2” did. It’s still a mixed bag of horror, but when you get down to it, it’s still a solid anthology film that corrects a lot of the original film’s errors. Plus the mascot is just so much more appealing this time around. I won’t say “All Hallows’ Eve 2” is a masterpiece, but it’s strong enough to recommend to horror fans looking for a good time. Director Jessie Baget recruits a group of really interesting indie filmmakers to lend their shorts for this sequel, and while some of them are mere tricks, others are absolutely wonderful treats.
Among my favorites, there’s “Descent,” a masterful short thriller about a young girl who walks in to her friends house to discover she’s been brutally murdered. After witnessing the killer and narrowly evading him, six weeks later she finds herself in her office after hours. Still coping with the trauma, she rushes to get out of the building and shockingly finds herself stuck in the elevator with the murderer, who is oblivious to the role she played that night. Well crafted, and beautifully acted on all fronts, this is the highlight of the entire film. “M is for Masochist” is a short I fondly remember being in the running for “ABC’s of Death” and it’s a fine fit for this anthology.
Short but sweet, it features a damaged young boy who heads to the carnival with his friends and finds a special attraction that allows players to torture a person pinned to a spinning wheel. When he discovers who the person is that’s being tortured, he takes his chance to get payback. It’s demented, it’s poetic, and I dug it. “Alexia” is an eerie short from Argentina in where a young man lingers on his ex-girlfriend’s facebook page on the anniversary of her suicide. Blaming himself for her death, he discovers she’s not intent on letting him go anytime soon. Filled with creepy visuals and a weird finale, this is a strong short.
Finally, there’s “A Boy’s Life” which, while feeling like a more restrained version of “The Babadook” is worth watching mainly for the performances. Christie Lynn Smith carries the short as a mother struggling to keep up with her lonely overly imaginative son who is convinced there’s a monster in his room. Smith’s performance is impressive, even if the final scene feels like a total cop out. All in all, “All Hallows’ Eve 2” is so much more watchable and entertaining than the first film. There are some lemons in the film, and I still think the wrap around and gimmicky sub-plot is silly (how many people still own VCR’s, really?), but it’s worth it to see some genuinely good horror shorts. In an age where the horror anthology is back in full force, I’d say “All Hallows’ Eve 2” is worth checking out.