I purchased All Saints Eve on a whim a few days ago without knowing anything about it. I completely forgot that when I interviewed cast member Nick LaMantia a few months ago, he had shared a tidbit or two about this title with me. At least if the movie was rubbish, I showed some sort of support for a promising actor in Pennsylvania. Here’s my review of All Saints Eve having watched it last night.
All Saints Eve is written by Elizabeth Rossi and directed by Gerry Lively. Lively previously worked as a cinematographer on films such as Waxwork, Hellraiser III, and Return of the Living Dead III. Cast members include Bingo O’Malley (Creepshow, Super 8), Marc Macaulay (“Burn Notice,” “Matlock”), Katrina Darrell (“American Idol”), Matthew Bonacci (Psycho Street), Nick LaMantia (Everyone Must Die!), Shawn Shelpman (Red Christmas), Mere Davis, Nicole Alexandra Shipley, Rachel Boyde, Clifford Lynch, Tiffany Kemp, Scott Sullivan, and many more.
“A sinister preacher in the 1800’s leads an angry church mob to murder a farmer and his family, all to gain the coveted McKale farmland. In his dying breathe, the farmer incites an evil curse and vows his vengeance. An eerie calm settles over the land for centuries until one fateful night when the curse is accidentally unleashed and a group of misfit friends must fight to stay alive, discover the truth, and solve the criminal mystery before its too late.”
It took me a while to realize it, but with director Gerry Lively’s noteworthy work in the 80s and 90s – credits also including Children of the Corn III and Necronomcon: Book of Dead – All Saints Eve has a classic kind of feel to it. It goes back to basics, if you will. Originally this bothered the Hell out of me and I thought it was the production team being lazy; come to realize the movie was supposed to be styled and paced in such a way that will remind horror fans of classic movies that didn’t rely on boob shots and shock effects. On top of all of that, it’s refreshing and invigorating to see Lively not only continuing what he loves to do, but also not giving into current Hollywood tactics made to produce a cheap thrill. In other words, Gerry’s still got it!
The second thing that stuck out to be is that All Saints Eve contains a fantastic cast. Bingo O’Malley and Marc Macaulay brought star power to the movie with their presence. I haven’t seen Matthew Bonacci since Psycho Street and Nick LaMantia since Everyone Must Die! and it was good to see these gentlemen again. I hope they do more horror projects in the future. The gaggle of girls were great, too, and had some realistic on screen chemistry, but my favorite had to be Katrina Darrell. The reason for this is because I remember her being schooled by Grammy Nominee Kara DioGuardi on “American Idol” back in 2009. You can’t blame Darrell for keeping at it and hopefully gaining some popularity one day. Putting this talented bunch of misfits in a Halloween haunted house attraction was yet another element that’ll harken fans back to the earlier days of horror production.
There are two things that I think hurt this title: the special effects and some post-production problems. Again, All Saints Eve is clearly a little homage to older slasher flicks, but it contains barely any gore and violence. Almost all of the death scenes are off screen or are partially out of frame and the bodies are discovered with minimal injuries sometime later. I wanted a little bit more. I think viewers will want the same, too. Some sound effects are missing, which I assume were left out for some reason during post-production. Feet landing on the roof. Blunt object meeting a harder surface. Doors closing. Not all the time, but some sound effects are obviously missing. It was kind of a glaring mistake I couldn’t get past.
Mostly, All Saints Eve is one of those films that is the battle between what you expect to see and what is actually there. I had no reservations going into my viewing. I’m glad that I had time to digest what I saw on screen and didn’t type up my review right after watching last night. It would have received a much different score. So, if you choose to buy or rent this title, just know it’s nothing exciting or glamorous or even scary. All Saints Eve is just a fun, Halloween themed slasher with good talent and was produced by one of the best cinematographers of the 80s and 90s. It’s not current, but it has a lot to offer people who enjoy films like Sleepaway Camp and titles of that nature. If you go in expecting something else, you won’t be satisfied.
FINAL SCORE: 6.5 out of 10