Story: Spring break! Evan leaves campus and hits the wide open spaces to visit his uber-granola older brother during his time off. But a cute girl catches his eye, and Evan starts hanging out with her and her friends. Time to tell spooky stories by the fire pit! But Evan picked a doozy… Hey, what was that?
Scares: Great tension and chills.
Splat factor: Very little, but well used.
Closing scene “shocker”?: Not really, but there’s definitely a dot-dot-dot moment.
Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Original, though it feels like a spooky campfire tale.
Trick or Treat?: A spooky-good campfire story comes to life in this slow burn chiller. The big bad here is a variation of the skin walker/shifter myth, and it stirs up the paranoia and mistrust within the group nicely. Set design is a delight, as things slowly become placed in groups of five here and there, until even the characters notice. It’s a spooky nod to the unseen horror around them that they become aware of much, much too late.
The action really amps up during the last twenty minutes of the film, after plenty of “but you were just…” moments and in-group sniping. The only thing I didn’t love were the characterizations; most of the characters here are ciphers with no backstory, turning individuals into the usual horror fodder waiting for their inevitable end. Still, the actors do well with what they’ve got, delivering believable camaraderie, suspicion, and fear.
There’s lots to enjoy here, especially if you like the “Bloody Mary” myth, or Candyman. A creepy story for horror fans not afraid of it slow burn. As Elle Callahan’s first feature length directorial effort, Count has me wanting to see more of what she can do.
Score: 4 out of 5 pumpkins.