HARVEST OF THE DEAD: HALLOWEEN NIGHT (REVIEW)
Dir. Peter Goddard
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Independent cinema is a hard premise to market. While many smaller films share a unique vision and new ideologies of storytelling, their distribution is often hampered by budgets far outweighing their films. Even a film as small as THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT which cost a measly $200k dollars was a diamond in the rough so films on even lesser budgets simply end up often unseen losing way to original talent lost in the ether. Peter Goddard is one of those talents, and one we’ve been lucky enough to share a journey with.
HARVEST OF THE DEAD: HALLOWEEN NIGHT is a sequel to the 2015 film, HARVEST OF THE DEAD and rest assured it’s written tightly enough to be a standalone feature. During Halloween night, a house party of young adults combined with a serial killer on the lose come together in a bloody mess that will leave fans of the video nasties of the 70s very happy.
While the central arc of HALLOWEEN NIGHT sees the slow developing conversation and exposition, it’s beautifully interjected with scenes of murder and mayhem to keep you waiting for the final climax. Kudos for the clever use of budget that focuses on practical effects over CGI and as a result, the deaths on display are eye coveringly convincing.
But a director is limited with the tools they have and HARVEST OF THE DEAD: HALLOWEEN NIGHT shows that. Between the cast there are peeks and troughs in talent and while it’s hard at times not be distracted, the film is carried to it’s violent pursuit of victims. One of the strangest things to overcome is that most of the action takes place in the day, an unusual commodity for a horror film and one that does take away from some of the suspense. The unknown, and often hidden, is out on display here so don’t expect to be scared by the ghouls on show here.
There is a saving grace here. Watching HARVEST OF THE DEAD: HALLOWEEN NIGHT is how I imagine some of the video nasties at the time feeling. It certainly ticks all the boxes – boobs, blood and decapitations and as a result there is an audience somewhere waiting to unearth this as it is, mindless violence. And like many now modern classics that are seeing a revival through the likes of Arrow Video and Second Sight, low budget doesn’t necessarily mean forgotten and HARVEST OF THE DEAD: HALLOWEEN NIGHT could well resurge interest in Goddard’s work over time.