31st Oct2019

‘One Night in October’ Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Jessica Morgan, Casey Norman, Rachel Netherton, Kaitlan Renee, Nathan O. Miller, Dustin Rieffer, Aeric Azana, Taylor Plecity, Andrew Kincaid, Sara Jackson, Erin Colleen Marshall, Bo Phillips, Brianna Roberts | Written and Directed by Christopher M. Carter

One-Night-October-Art

It’s Halloween season. The time for sitting down with candles glowing, a hot cup of black coffee in hand, and the dark night bellowing silence outside the windows, and watching a bloody good horror film. I’m always excited to find and experience new cool horror movies that are set during the season of blood and chills, and so I was fully all-in for One Night in October when I was offered a chance to review it for Nerdly.

Written and directed by Christopher M. Carter (The Sister), One Night in October is a… wait for it… ANTHOLOGY film. There’s been a bit of a return to prominence of the horror-anthology lately, but I’m a fan, so I’m cool with that newly re-emerging trend. Unlike many horror anthologies, however, the stories here, all penned by Carter, aren’t linked together really, and we flick between then, on and off. They take place on the same night… a night… in, erm… October.

I’m a fan of suburban October horror movies. I know that seems fairly specific, but I do think, as I imagine most do, that neighbourhoods in suburban places on Halloween are the perfect location for some gruesome, ghastly and spooky shenanigans to occur. This was an immediate plus for this movie for me, with this suburban neighbourhood being terrorised by a variety of murderous villains of both the real-life and supernatural persuasion. The first story of the trilogy takes us into “home invasion” horror territory, with a couple of thieves breaking into a house only to discover that the owner of the house, Michelle (Jessica Morgan) isn’t really the kind of woman to be invaded. Now, we’ve all seen this sort of thing before in movies like Don’t Breathe, The Collector and such, and it’s not unlike those in many ways. It’s enjoyable enough, but not especially inspired and it fell a touch short for me, lacking in substance when it came to the end. I didn’t NOT enjoy it, but I didn’t find much to really sink my teeth into either. The performances were pretty good though, especially from Morgan, so it wasn’t too bad of a start.

The second tale see’s a gaggle of teenagers wander into slasher movie land, as they try to have some dumb teen fun by violating a private cornfield. Sadly, for the teenagers in question, there’s a bloody big monstrous bloke called The Scarecrow (Bret Linden) with a rather big weapon in his fist who wants to send them packing, problem is… he wants to pack them up in a hundred small bags. This was a step up from the first story, and while it also felt familiar, tried and tested, it was fun, and the horror worked more. The main antagonist was designed well too, and felt looming and dangerous, and not just like a random fellow in a hood stumbling around a field. Not bad.

Finally, we enter the third story, which I thought was the best and most original of the three. A couple named Dominic and Emma (Nathan O. Miller and Rachel Netherton respectively) only get to see each other for a few minutes every few weeks. It’s odd, intriguing, and we soon find out the reason. I don’t really want to delve into this one too much because I thought the revelations, the performances and the overall tone to this were the best moment of One Night in October, and enough of a reason to check this movie out.

There are a selection of performances in here that are good, with some standing out to me, like Jessica Morgan and Rachel Netherton, while there are some that feel a bit wooden, and un-rehearsed, coming off as a bit awkward from time to time. It began on a timid and somewhat “done before” tone, but that did change a little, and while there’s plenty of moments that feel well-trod, there’s also some original thoughts and ideas going here, and for a low-budget horror anthology, it has plenty to offer. It could have been a touch shorter, with the 104 minute run-time perhaps being cut to around 90, and I would have liked a more fulfilling ending to how the first of the stories closed, but the tales on offer are interesting enough, entertaining and keep you invested if you don’t let the too-stretched-out length of the film ruin the experience for you.

I think if you don’t expect Creepshow, The Purge or Trick ‘r Treat and are open to a low-budget anthology horror that delivers some cool elements, then you might enjoy this. I had fun. Happy Halloween!

**½  2.5/5

One Night in October is out now on DVD and Digital from Wild Eye Releasing.

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