Sunday, November 17, 2013
More than Mischief: Richard Schenkman's Mischief Night (2013)
Starring: Ian Bamberg, Noell Coet, Adam C. Edwards
Directed: Richard Schenkman
Ah yes, Mischief night. That one time of the year teens and kids alike use as an excuse to be assholes right before Halloween the next day. This is a holiday observed in this simple home invasion slasher from a guy who used to direct Playboy videos and that atrocious Asylum film Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies and, all things considering, the result is nothing but fair and decent surprisingly.
The scene follows one Emily, a girl whose guilt from a fatal car accident that took her mother's life somehow took her will to see as well, rendering her "mentally blind", going through a Mischief Night evening all alone while her father goes on a date. What she thought would be nothing more than a night of pranks from enthusiastic neighbors will soon turn for the worse when someone in a yellow rain slicker and a ghoulish mask sets their eyes on her. Unaware at first, Emily would soon learn in horror that she's taunted and preyed upon by a home invading psychopath, leaving her no choice but to try and use her remaining instincts to protect herself and those who try to come to her aid.
Now, I'm a man with a simple needs when it comes to slasher films; so long as it keeps me engaged and provide me some juicy stalker action and murders, I can ignore any minor flaws and just love the movie for plain entertainment.
Mischief Night lacks any new substance or twists for that matter, but I do love the flow of the story and all the glorious mayhem that is occurring right in front of me as it tries its best to focus more on Emily's fight and flight antics, taking its time to build some silent tension as a home invasion hybrid. In fact, after the oddly acted opening double murder, the film slows down from the attacks and trails us through some moments alone with our lead and see how she functions in her situation, despite her condition.
I actually like that fact we got a strong and somewhat spunky teen lead here that we could all feel good rooting for. She's a bit rude and haughty but she's determined to go through great lengths in the end to save what remains of her family from an intruder who is doing all this just because it's mischief night.
Unfortunately, the fact that it is trying to be more than a bodycount-riding slasher by building character and suspense might be the film's own downfall. With nothing new to the story save a crass but likable lead, the film could easily mislead all those who're expecting a low-brow, cheesy dead-teen film to something they're not completely prepared for, thus a conflict of taste and some slight betrayal for hardcore gore fans.
I personally have no problem with the film's well-intended attempt to do something different for the sub-genre since it does little to disappoint. It maybe a tad dry on the grue department (with one messy kill among many to boast), cheap on scares and features the most pointless twist reveal yet, Mischief Night is a welcomed viewing for those cold Autumn nights before Halloween. Worth a watch!
1 male killed, method unknown
1 female killed offscreen with an axe
1 female knifed through the throat
1 male shot
1 male axed on the back
1 female killed in car crash (flashback)
1 male eviscerated with chainsaw
1 male shot on the chest