21st Oct2020

‘On Halloween’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Giselle van der Wiel, Telen Rodwell, Aaron J. March, Robert Harrell, James Pratt, Daniel Musial, Ezekiel Simat, Conor Fogarty, Brandon Paterson, Ivan Topic, Anna Bauert, Daniel Cummings, Terry Serio, Patch May, Barbara Hastings | Written and Directed by Timothy Doyle

Oftentimes I’ll find myself looking for a new film to watch on sites like Cheap Charts or Just Watch; hell sometimes I just trawl through iTunes – flicking between looking at the newest arrivals section or going down a rabbit hole of “recommendations”. Sometimes, just sometimes, you come across a fantastic hidden gem or a film that has been unceremoniously dumped to digital without a word. On Halloween is one such film and it grabbed me on the creepy “killer clown” premise alone…

On Halloween follows journalist Jordan (Giselle van der Wiel) who goes in search of the truth after a series of brutal deaths and disappearances lead back to an urban legend about a serial killing clown that has stalked the woods of Century Park for over a hundred years.

Obviously killer clowns are nothing new, from the madness of Killer Klowns From Outer Space, to Stephen King’s IT, to the Killjoy franchise to the more recent Terrifier, clowns have always been a figure of terror in genre filmmaking. So it takes a lot these days to make your clown movie simply scary. Terrifier did it by being on of the goriest, and gloriously over the top horrors of recent times. Which means, honestly, On Halloween has a LOT to live up to. A lot.

Sadly, apart from its killer clowns – yes clowns, plural – who love to speak in rhyme as they attack their victims, there’s not much to recommend about On Halloween. True, rhyming clowns is cool enough – especially as they seem to be having waaaay too much fun slaughtering people (think a quip-quoting Freddy in the latter Nightmare on Elm Street films) but the rest of the cast are unremarkably wooden – you don’t care for them, you don’t fear for their lives. And the performance of the cops is worst of all – the acting is so poor you can’t believe these guys would ever be able to solve any crime. Ever!

The main issue though is that the story is told from different perspectives, in the present and the past; and its not made clear which is which at first. It’s not until about an hour into the film that you realise, mainly thanks to a throwaway line about the TV show ‘Undercover Detectives’ having a long run on TV that you realise the scenes featuring the cop in the film vying for a slot on the show is the past and that the kids confronting the “boos” (the name given this films killer clowns) are actually doing so in the past!

And the final explanation, On Halloween‘s big “ta-da” as it were, when they reveal (too late may I add) what we’ve seen is spread across a number of timelines, spanning a few years and how that all connects to Jordan? Well it’s incredibly convoluted and, eventually, turns this killer clown film into a weird vampire-esque movie?! Though props to writer/director Timothy Doyle for tying the films intro, where a group of kids are trying to scare each other in the park, into the films denouement…

** 2/5

On Halloween is available digitally now, via iTunes etc.


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