Story: Casper needs money to settle his dad’s debts to a loan shark. So why no pose as waiters for a posh family’s party in Malibu? He and his friends Iris and Dodge have broken into other houses for loot; this should be no sweat. Just blood and tears.
Scares: More suspense than scares.
Splat factor: Body parts, beatings and chainsaw carnage, though a lot is either off screen or in a wide shot. Okay, you may wanna pass on this if the idea of someone using another person’s severed hand to clap with grosses you out.
Closing scene “shocker”?: Not really.
Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Original.
Trick or Treat?: Not a bad way to spend an hour and a half. Considering the odds are three low-level crooks against ten serial killers, there’s an awful lot of believable tension in this claustrophobic horror thriller.
It’s fun watching actors like Robin Tunney, Julian McMahon, and Lance Reddick cut loose as serial killers who are veering off the wagon. The rest of the cast are relatively unknown, but give performances that keep things believable. Nobody goes full Jack Torrance, and that’s a good thing here.
As the last half hour unfolds, three survivors hide from the rest in a room with all sorts of…things. Including a door marked “private collection”, and a family portrait with the disfigured third sibling no one has seen at the party. The so-far survivors don’t wonder about that?
But then the not fully in your face gore really cranks up, as does the pacing. Sure there are gaps in the screenplay that leave some characters with zero backstory – and with this film digging a bit into the histories of these characters would be fun – so several moments are completely out of left field. Plus, a revelation about Iris (she’s pregnant! Mazel!) goes nowhere, so why even write it in? The film could have really dug into the psychology of the characters, but instead it’s a bedroom farce with chainsaws.
Grab some candy and some friends, and give this a try. It’s not great, but it’s not bad either. It’s just a bit of fun. And if the creators decide to go deeper into character motivations, I’d kinda like to see a sequel.
Score: 3 out of 5 pumpkins.