A dominatrix, several Presidents, Jesus and Sarah Palin. A woman accidentally brings a homeless man on a date to a Halloween party. A mysterious disappearing fortune teller in the bedroom. A possibly demonic, unseen child. At least two strippers. The man and his wife who host the party, conspiring to film it all through hidden cameras. And a guy dressed like Cecil B. DeMille. It’s like Project X, except even worse, and with middle-aged people.
A more terrifying prospect than the low-budget horror film or sci-fi: the low-budget comedy. On paper, it should be simple. All one really needs is a good script, funny performers and a decent concept and you’re away. It worked for Clerks, after all. The worst case scenario is here in Halloween Party, a movie without a good script, funny performers or a decent concept. It’s simply a bunch of people – none of them that funny, outrageous or terrible – partying in a relatively sedate manner in a house. Even the hidden camera element is barely utilised (not that we wanted it to be), largely ignored save for a few sequences in which people are observed behaving in a hot tub.
There’s no point to Halloween Party and even less humour. The various people we meet and follow aren’t particularly interesting and their fancy dress is boring and obvious. There’s the bickering husband and wife, one of whom is probably having an affair. There’s the lead girl’s ex (who has a Jared Leto air about him, but none of the charisma). There’s the hot homeless guy, who smells, but is still hot. There’s a procession of kids trick or treating at the door, which even this film fails to wring a single laugh out of. There’s S&M, handcuffs and a ball gag, but Halloween Party just feels like a really boring person trying to be kinky, like partying with the middle-aged middle-class people that its characters all are (even the bum used to be a successful hotshot, before tragedy). One and all, these are the sort of people who you’d most likely find on Facebook all day posting memes with Minions in boasting about how ‘crazy’ they are.
There’s a good-natured feeling to it that makes the film hard to dislike too much, from its charming actors and actresses (in a nice but dim kind of way) to the tentative romance between the lady and the tramp (although she gets a five minute routine about her love life which will leave you loathing her), and it’s even filmed competently enough. Were there even a few good jokes in here, Halloween Party might be salvageable.
There aren’t, though, and it isn’t. Completely lacking in edge and about as vanilla as it gets, Halloween Party is a film without trick or treat.
HALLOWEEN PARTY / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: LINDA PALMER / STARRING: ELLE NEWLANDS, FRANK GANGAROSSA, CHRIS PENTZELL / RELEASE DATE: TBC