(director/writer: Patrick Lussier; screenwriter: Todd Farmer; cinematographer: Amanda Treyz; editor: Tommy Aagaard; music: Michael Wandmacher; cast: Omar Epps (Det. Mike Denver), Tom Atkins (Talbott), Jamie Kennedy (Dr. Steven), Ellen Adair (Sheriff Lisa Jayne), Kristina Reyes (Cheryl Winston), Todd Farmer (Deputy Wan), Vanessa Aspillaga (Agent Tina Mendez), Thom Niemann (Patrick Weaver), Robert G. McKay (Agent Swift), Alex Breaux (Len); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Ellen Wander, Ita Kennedy; RLJE Films; 2019)
“Inferior seasonal splatter film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Writer-director Patrick Lussier (“Drive Angry”/”My Bloody Valentine”) helms this inferior seasonal splatter film, one that features the slaughter of innocents and police on the Halloween holiday by a maniacal serial killer who returns every Halloween to the same spot of his original attack or to nearby spots to do his evil thing. Lussier is the co-writer with Todd Farmer, whose horror film might be energetic but is senseless, unappealing and certainly not a treat. It’s an absurd tale about a supernatural killer, Patrick Weaver, nicknamed Trick, short for Patrick (Thom Niemann). While it follows along the lines of a police procedural, it leads to a big plot-twist changing directions at the finale (unmasking the killer’s identity after the bodies of those he brutally kills mounts) but that reveal somehow doesn’t make the film any better or make more sense.
It’s set in the small upstate NY town of Benton, where police detective Mike Denver (Omar Epps) and the local sheriff Lisa Jayne (Ellen Adair) are at a loss why the unknown pumpkin masked killer re-appears on Halloween to slaughter their residents. He believes the killer is a supernatural evil spirit, something she dismisses as poppycock–thinking it’s a copycat killer. But she needs his investigative expertise, so continues to team with him.
The backstory is told in the opening scene. It was in 2015 when Trick during a high school student Halloween costume party was playing spin-the-bottle, using a knife instead of the bottle to do the spinning, and when the knife pointed to a man the panic-stricken Trick in a homophobic rage used the game knife to slice into pieces the players before being stabbed himself. One wounded student (Kristina Reyes) managed to survive, but is of little help for the investigation.
After taken to the hospital, Trick gets patched-up by the doctor (Jamie Kennedy) and then kills the police guard and jumps out the hospital’s third floor window and staggers to a nearby river. That’s where Detective Denvers puts five slugs in him and he falls apparently dead into the river. But his body is never found.
This film, though well-acted and executed, has no humor or any redeeming social value, as it chooses to shoot just for low-level entertainment and can be seen as just another rip-off Halloween film.
REVIEWED ON 11/13/2019 GRADE: C+