An estate in under siege by the local teen riff-raff. What was once an affluent area has fallen on hard times and the disenchanted youth have taken over. As Halloween approaches a series of graffiti tags appear warning the troublesome teens that their days are numbered. At first the group ignore the signs, but then as members of the group start going missing they have to reassess if the threat is real after all.
What Hallows Eve does well is mess with the viewer’s expectations. Experienced horror fans are familiar with all the tropes, but director Brad Watson flips them on their head on several occasions. This misdirect catches the viewer off-guard and adds an uncomfortable layer of tension. In one example we have long point-of-view shots during which you keep expecting something to appear. The longer the shot holds, the more the adrenaline starts to pump. The viewer knows something will happen soon, but when? Then in some instances nothing happens, but you find your heart-rate racing regardless. Watson nails the fear of the unknown. The actual scares coming from nowhere, completely blindsiding the audience which is no mean feat.
In recent years, with films such Eden Lake, the local thugs are usually the bad-guys. We watch as some upper-middle class couple or family are tormented to death and it’s awful. In Hallows Eve they themselves are the victims. It’s great to see them have the lower hand for once. Imagine Halloween with the cast of Kidulthood and you get the gist of Hallows Eve. The cast themselves are a mix of young Brits, some of whom will no doubt soon become household names, Ethan Taylor especially. Taylor plays Darren, a teen new to the area, who despite having a great amount of intellect and talent, has decided to join the group of wasters.
Perfectly placed on this year’s Frightfest, Hallows Eve is a clever and gritty British bloodbath. Genre fans will love the film that, in addition to the usual violence and scares, is also rammed full of references to all the classics.