Just because financial limitations have strangled your hopes and dreams when it comes to making that one hopeful hit that will put you on the map, that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a crippler. In the example of Ryan Byrne’s homage to some of the more memorable slasher pics of yesterday, 15,000 bucks isn’t too shabby of a jumping off amount, and while still paling in comparison to some other allocations thrown into films these days, there is something to be said about making it all come together. Circle the date on your calendars, as we’ll be jumping ahead to All Hallows Eve: October 30th
Byrne, who also wrote and stars in AHE: October 30th, opens the film with an intensely uneasy scene of an attempted child abduction, and the creepiness just oozes on from there. The backstory of Ethan Pearl (Aidan Bass) and his amazingly ghoulish Grandfather (Gabrylewicz) is detailed 20 years before the movie’s current series of events so we learn just how deranged this duo really was. We then move 20 years forward (we’re only up to 2008 in this film, people), and a slightly “schizo” filmmaker named Ethan Pearl, played by Byrne (about 20 years older, get it?) and his assembled crew of aspiring Hollywood wannabes are heading off to shoot an indie horror flick, and Ethan will be using his past traumatic experiences as fuel for the fire.
Little does the crew know, but old Grandpa himself is hunting them, and in turn it becomes more of a volatile situation when Ethan starts to redirect his ire towards his cast, most notably the lead actress, Jade (played to scream queen excellence by Arbus). As the movie trucks along, we get to see a completely different side of the normally placid Ethan character, and as a much bigger method to his madness is revealed, we’re twisted and turned in a multitude of different directions.
I’ve got to tell you, for a tiny independent flick, this delivers the goods on a few levels. It’s got the frights to give you chills, and with the look of a cheesy mid-80’s presentation, Byrne obviously took his time in crafting this movie to his specifications. Downsides, you ask? Well, aside from Gabrylewicz and Arbus’s rock-solid performances, there isn’t much portrayal-wise to crow about, and even Byrne’s depiction as the damaged Ethan gets stuck in the mud in too many spots, but the simple look and feel of the film is a nice back-brace that rescues the film from sinking in the deep end.
Overall, I’ll give praise to Byrne for his triple-headed involvement here, not only acting and directing, but writing as well. He seems poised to carry this film over and make two more installments to complete a trilogy, and he should be able to iron out the wrinkles when the remaining movies are being shot. A flawless film? No way, Jose – but this is still a fun watch that should be enjoyed around Halloween… may I suggest a date on the calendar on which to view it?