Updated: Aug 19
October. It’s like Christmas for horror fans. Shops filled with skeletons, giant spiders, bats and all manner of spooky goings-on. Masks and costumes are prepared and made ready for parties and best of all, there are a large number of horror films being released in the run-up to Halloween. The problem is that amongst the good movies, there’s a whole pile of shit to wade through before you find those gems that are worth keeping.
Where does this movie fall?
Well, gather round, turn off the lights and draw the curtains as I tell you of The Curse of Halloween Jack.
It all began a few years ago when serial killer Jack was hunted down and killed by the family members of his victims. One year later, Jack came back for revenge on those that killed him in 2018’s The Legend of Halloween Jack.
Now yet another year has passed and he’s back for more.
Things open with newscaster expositional dialogue that pretty much explains the above, so there’s no issue if (like me) you’ve not seen the previous movie, the problem is the newscaster has no charisma to their voice and sounds as though they’ve been shot with a tranquillizer dart. Still, at least that’s out of the way and we won’t have to hear him again.
In the local police station, the cops are concerned about a group known as the Cult of Samhain who are planning a human sacrifice in the area. They should be fairly easy to spot though as they are currently standing around a bonfire, shouting/chanting and painted up like a Norwegian black metal band. Sure enough, the police arrive on the scene and, for some reason, sit in their van and watch the cult members arm themselves and get into cover before they decide to leave the vehicle and confront them. Naturally, a gunfight ensues and it turns out that the cult leader was the intended sacrifice all along as his spilt blood brings something forth from beneath the ground.
The acting in this scene and the fact that the cops just sat in their van staring at the cult members was laughably bad and things were looking pretty dire for the movie. It was starting to slide toward the shit pile.
Fortunately, things start to pick up as we are introduced to our protagonist Danielle (Tiffany Ceri) and her parents Mayor Boyle (Phillip Roy) and his wife, Annie (Charlotte Mounter). The acting was far better than I was expecting, especially after the previous scene and they came across as a normal family. No overacting, just being fairly believable, regular people.
Maybe this is the gem that’s worth wading through the shit to find?
Actually, no. No, it isn’t. In fact, I’ve completely run out of praise for the movie. That’s it. That one scene with Danielle and her parents was ok and the first time we meet her friends was tolerable, but from then on. Well, to keep with my earlier analogy. It’s pretty much just shit from then on.
Let’s take a look at the villain of the piece, Halloween Jack himself. First of all, he’s an undead scarecrow, which might sound ok, but he’s immaculately clean for having just risen from the grave and worst of all, rather than inspire fear or terror, he just looks ridiculous. A smiling face on a hessian sack that’s draped over some orange lights doesn’t evoke images of horror. Maybe despair. The despair that someone created this and thought it was memorable enough, and maybe even terrifying enough to be a decent horror villain. A villain that could star in a franchise.
A villain that maybe didn’t look like someone threw a sack over a jack-o-lantern might have been a good start.
Then there is the stupidity on the part of the characters. There’s a scene where Jack kills some teens at a party that Danielle was attending and she just stares at him as he kills three people (one of whom dies by being thrown onto a sofa?) and she doesn’t decide to run until Jack looks at her. Pulling someone’s heart out? Not an issue. Looking at me? No thanks, I’m out of here.
Even worse than that is just how boring the whole thing is.
And it gets worse as it goes along.
As the film draws to its conclusion, Danielle meets a man named Tanner (Peter Cosgrove) who has been waiting for Jack to return, so that he can take revenge and who, based on the way he looks, was runner up in the Snake Plissken lookalike contest. Tanner exposits things that were already obvious and this is then followed by Tanner talking about his time in Iraq. This is the heroes preparing for a stand-off (complete with the world’s worst gearing up montage) which takes over 10 minutes. 10 minutes of them sitting there talking, pulling the sleeves off a jacket and putting on some gloves and then talking again. I agree with Tanner when he stated that the worst thing about the war “was the waiting.” No shit. Here we are, just waiting for something to happen.
When it does happen we have to wait for Jack to struggle to open a door and then wait for him to close it before Tanner dies immediately. And then when Danielle, the only person with the power to kill Jack finally confronts him face-to-face, she talks to him. More dialogue for you folks, I hope that’s what you want from your horror finale. Shut up and stab him! Oh, she has, finally. What happens now then, as she has the power to kill Jack? She sets a bomb and runs away. A fucking bomb? Are you kidding me? What’s the point of being the one with the power to kill him once and for all if you then set a bomb? Still, at least the bomb keeps up the pace of the movie as the 5-second timer takes about 10 seconds and the damn thing even beeps for a bit when it hits zero, rather than detonate immediately.
Well, at least it’s all over now.
Nope. The tranquillized newsreader is back with exposition to set up a sequel whilst we’re treated to some of the same shots that were at the start of the film.
I probably don’t need to summarise here, but I really didn’t enjoy the movie. The film dropped very quickly from laughably bad to just plain bad. It’s the sort of film where the boredom sets in and you’ll most likely find yourself either turning it off. I didn’t have that luxury as I had to review it but at least you can have the chance to steer clear of this.
I’ll give writer/director Andrew Jones some credit though as he clearly keeps himself busy with this being the sixth film that he’s had released this year, so he must be making money from this somehow. I guess that someone enjoys this stuff but it’s not me. Perhaps he needs to focus more on quality, rather than quantity as based on this effort, there’s nothing to entice me into watching any of his other releases.