It’s always great going in to a movie for the first time expecting one thing and ending up with something totally different. While some may claim to see the twists coming, this is kind of what happened with my viewing of Travis Baker’s Mischief Night.
Kaylie (Brooke Anne Smith) is spending the night before Halloween babysitting. After saving the house from a few young pranksters, another visitor comes by. This time, it’s not a prank, and Kaylie must fend off a serial killer.
I don’t know what it is all of a sudden about the title Mischief Night, but apparently between last year and this year, there are three films with that same name. The short plot overview I’ve supplied here may sound like your typical home invasion horror film. I don’t know much about the other two films that share this name, but Travis Baker’s movie is nothing like the other home invasion slashers you’ve seen in the past.
I don’t think I can recall any film from this genre that ended up having scenes that looked like they came straight from a romantic comedy! This movie had me changing my opinion of it the entire time, but when it was all said and done, I made up my mind — it is definitely worth the watch.
The acting was okay and just as surprising as the film itself, I feel. Brooke Anne Smith is either a very bad actor or a very good one; her character was irritating as all hell, but at the same time, I found myself feeling sorry for her and strangely attracted to her “I hate the world” mentality. The intruder, played by Marc Valera, was also of the same token. His character was not as extraordinary as Kaylie, but he too made you feel a strange type of sympathy. Us horror fans are also treated with a very entertaining performance by Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Halloween). His cameos are very short, but they are hysterical, nonetheless.
The kills and blood effects range from looking cheap and amateurish to pretty freakin‘ awesome. Mischief Night is not just about the blood and gore, however. Travis Baker, who also wrote the film, sought out to make something that was original and surprising, and in a genre where everything has been done before, I think he succeeded.
If you’re a fan of home invasion films and want to see one with a unique twist, pick up a copy of this After Dark Originals film, available now from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.
I give this film 3.5 jack-o-lanterns out of 5.