Movie Review: 10/31 (2017)

Hi again ghosts and ghouls! It’s a new year – can you believe 2018 is here already? I’m shocked at just how quickly 2017 flew by. I have a new-found appreciation for haunts, and with that, my love for horror came back ten-fold (it was never gone…just reignited), so I’ve been a horror-watching machine.

In a desperate attempt to feel like Halloween is not actually that far away (spoiler alert: it’s January, it’s still pretty far away -sadface-), I watched an anthology-style film all about Halloween, appropriately titled 10.31 (aka 10/31).

Similarly to Trick ‘r Treat10.31 is an homage to All Hallow’s Eve, telling stories of different characters as they spend their Halloween nights dealing with some crazy stuff.

There are five segments in the film – in total, the film itself is an hour and a half long. The segments are quick and fun, but do not watch this film expecting complete character backstories and development along the way, they really are that quick. They jump in and before you know it they’re over.

The segments are titled as follows: ‘The Old Hag’ directed by Justin M. Seaman; ‘Tresspassers’ directed by Zane Hershberger, ‘Killing the Dance’ directed by John William Holt, ‘The Halloween Blizzard of ’91’ directed by Pretty DeJager, and ‘The Samhain Slasher’ directed by Rocky Gray. There’s also a segment credited as ‘Malvolia: The Queen of Screams’, but she’s more like an Elvira type that narrates as the segments go on every once in awhile. That one’s directed by Hunter Johnson.

It’s a fun film, definitely not in the same vein as Trick ‘r Treat in terms of storytelling, as these were much cheesier in delivery and the copious amounts of gore were not really justified or well-executed. It felt kind of like a gore-fest that didn’t need to be, the stories each built up to a few “brutal killings” that you don’t really get to see, minus the pulling of someone’s small intestines out.

Each story is much different than the last; you have possessions, murders, infectious diseases from vampire scarecrows, you know, all the essentials. You even get a little bit of sleep paralysis…or is it?

‘The Old Hage’ segment was definitely my favorite in its execution, the acting and delivery of dialogue was much more legitimate than some of the other shorts so it made it more enjoyable to watch. One of my biggest pet-peeves as someone that reviews films: if the acting is bad, everything is bad. I can’t get past bad delivery, awkward timing, and unexpressive faces during horror scenes, which for some reason was especially prominent in scenes where people were being murdered and people were screaming but no one actually looked scared or uncomfortable.

Regardless of the acting, I do love anthology films because I get antsy sitting through feature-length films, so this felt like watching multiple shorts as opposed to one long movie. I have RLS, don’t judge me, my legs get weird if I sit for too long. This gives you a chance to rest your brain between segments (and if you’re me, walk around for a second so you don’t go insane). The directing of each was good, and the film itself looked great, it was just the acting that forced me to complain just a little bit.

I loved the variation in the subject matter, nothing was too similar and nothing bled together like you were watching the same thing multiple times. I very much appreciated the fact that I was able to see possession, references to Hansel and Gretel, and Santa all in the same film. No, I’m really not joking.

If you’re looking for a fun, quick watch, I would recommend this to people who are less picky than me about line-delivery and more interested in film production and how to make pretty decent looking fake blood. All in all, I probably wouldn’t watch it again, but I did find it fun, especially while waiting for our beloved Halloween to return again!

Taylor Krauss
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