Since the beginning of the slasher genre, wherever you feel it truly began, filmmakers have been taking a holiday, adding a killer or killers alongside side creative or generic kills, showing a varied amount of skin and trying to find a way to the make some original or at least make a few dollars in the pursuit of slasher picture that grabs you. There in lies the dilemma. Slasher pictures are great because they are generic and follow a few formulaic principles. Think of them as roller coaster rides. You go up. You go down. Sometimes you get a loop or two and if you’re lucky enough to find a special coaster you’ll either have a gimmick to entice you in (think of the Superman suspension coaster) or you’ll be drawn in by the archaic styling and track construction (wooden coasters can be as terrifying is the biggest sky drop at Six Flags). That brings us to Mischief Night directed by Richard Schnekman and brought to us by Image Entertainment.
Synopsis from Image:
Emily Walton, who has suffered from psychosomatic blindness ever since the car accident that took her mother's life, must summon every instinct at her disposal to protect herself and her loved ones from a mysterious intruder the night before Halloween.
In Mischief Night we have a slasher subgenre, holiday horror movie that feels like just about every slasher movie you saw in the late 90’s while trying to be attractive using the reputation and "dread" of Mischief Night or as it is called in other parts of the world, Goosey Night or Devil’s Night... The day BEFORE Halloween. Well there was a slasher movie called Halloween and one called The Day After Halloween, so this should complete the concept right? Wrong. For those of you who have seen The Day After Halloween, you know that the production value is substandard, the kills are blah to the max although it’s somewhat entertaining as a retro laughter with extra cheese and gratuity. If The Day After Halloween is ozploitation magic that works because it’s so bad that it’s laughable than Mischief Night doesn’t work because it’s generic and tries to take itself too seriously. Perhaps a tongue more fully planted in cheek could have helped this one out.
A killer who runs around in a hood who is essentially stalking a blind girl just doesn’t have pizazz. Further I find it difficult to believe that this movie can appeal to an audience of this generation. We’ve seen better kills. The best kills. We’ve been made to laugh at and along with our villains and we’ve even seen our killers dissect the movies right on screen as they imitate and become philosophical homicidal maniacs. The last thing we need is a guy in a hood with a mask that you might see in Party City trying to attack someone you simply don’t care about.
Mischief Night looks good, and perhaps that will make it watchable. It’s not like we’re talking about a movie that bounces all over the place with an essentially black screen through half the movie while we try to decipher bits of dialogue through audio glitches. This is a competent movie, but it’s a boring movie. Still, I can’t help but think that the “I Know What You Did…” crowd might get a kick out of this, and that simply by not being a fan of that franchise, I’m put off by Mischief Night.
Do not expect a movie that cleverly plays on the title or makes itself relevant to the holiday from which it derives its name. It won't soap your windows or toilet paper your trees or egg your house or hang tampons from your basketball hoop, but you 90's kids just might love it.
You can pick up Mischief Night NOW! The disc includes a special behind-the-scenes featurette and sports an alluring, somewhat creepy cover.