When I watched All Hallows’ Eve, the film brought a disturbed, little anthology that left me wanting more from Damien Leone and Art the Clown. However, I discovered the sequel would not be the film to answer that call. Leone is developing a full-fledged feature film about Art the Clown called Terrifier, that is filming and will likely arrive sometime in 2016, but All Hallows’ Eve 2 is a different film as a whole. The Clown has left, as has the director, instead, the film opted for a V/H/S and ABC’s of Death approach, having multiple directors with several different short films.
In retrospect, it’s the same basic concept: stories loosely connected with a framing plot that tells the tale of a pumpkin-faced antagonist. The idea of this film succeeding on any level seems to work against it, though the reviews were on-par with the first. (The first film was bad as a film, but had sparks of inspiration.) But, to my surprise, All Hallow’s Eve 2 is a superior-sequel and one of the best horror films I’ve seen released in 2015.
The film’s wraparound narrative is throwaway, a recycled version of the already generic one given in the first film. A woman receives a VHS tape with a bunch of tales on them that could be real, blah, blah. This film doesn’t waste any time on this, and opts to focus the bulk of the film’s intent on the short films. Some might criticize this, but I think it’s for the best. This isn’t a conventional film, it’s literally 8 short films brought together as one, and wraparounds are usually afterthoughts. In this film, it feels more like a segue or an introduction. It doesn’t get in the way.
The short-films are very enjoyable and unlike other Anthology films, I can’t really think of any misses. I mean, definitely, I had favorites, but none of them were bad, and the weakest entries were over the fastest.
Alexia and Descent (from the director of 1997’s Jack Frost horror film) are my favorites of the whole film. Descent has the most interesting concept, but Alexia accomplishes the best atmosphere. The former is about a woman who shares an elevator with the same man she saw kill her best friend and Alexia is an Unfriended scenario, in which the main-character unfriends his deceased girlfriend and an entity seems to manifest his computer.
These films encompass about 24 minutes of the films’ of the 91 minute run-time, so what does this mean for the remainder? The rest of the short films are enjoyable. They harbor a Halloween-vibe that will make it terrific for the holiday-season. (Though, I am watching it less than a week away from Christmas.)
In all of them, the acting and film-work looks polished and well-orchestrated. This is because each director had a personal stake in them and intended them to stand on their own. Descent was made in 2004, predating this anthology film by over a decade.
If you recall, I described All Hallows’ Eve as an audition for Art the Clown more than a film that could stand on its own. It had moments of inspiration and drive that made me to think to myself, “I want to see more from this director and more from this character.” All Hallows’ Eve doesn’t have that result. This doesn’t feel like an excuse to have a highlight reel for one character to show his potential, but feels like a series of individual stories that can be taken or left.
They all have a certain merit or proficiency, and I’d greatly recommend it for the two shorts I mentioned, and recommend it also for the sum of its parts.