We again stroll into the wasteland of the wretched rotting films, longing to become relics of the cinematic world, and overlooked by the horror genre, for they aren’t underrated, rather just uncovered corpses. Yes, horror fans, the DOA reviews, reopens the graves, and visits those movies that need no one to ever damage their eyes or melt minds on these so-called masterpieces, that is my job. First, allow one to discuss the title of All Sinners Night, the screener disc lists this as the title, while some reviews and the IMDB states “All Sinner’s Night” so right off the bat, the film suffers from an identity crisis, fret not more dimming of the concepts excrete from this mess.
For example, the menus on the screener play quite strangely, now it could be just my copy but the it doesn’t hold much faith when this easier aspect becomes another warning sign. This movie comes from director and writer Bobby Easley known for The Boogeyman (2014) and recently Belly Timber (2016), brings this convoluted tale for satanic mumbo jumbo and endless killings, from production company Horror Wasteland Pictures and granted distribution through World Wide Multi-Media, think Chemical Burn Entertainment meets Troma Films in sleazy back alley of grim and gore. While, low to no budget cinema isn’t for everyone, a film needs some quality points to achieve a successful platform, sound structure, fair to good performances, and entertainment throughout the production of $14,000. Now some critics state Easley’s style reminds one of Mario Bava or even Argento with the brewing horror and bright color palate, however that is very far from the actual display, rather the view gets a dull, off color presentation, many too dark scenes and SOV (Shot on video) . This is the only scene that gives a hint of that creativity, sadly not enough to help with the resurrection of the film.
The film opens with a quote from Revelations 20:7 “and when the thousand years are expired. Satan shall be loosed out of his prison”, which comes from the King James Bible, and only if the film lived up to this expectation. Then we fade into a full moon shot and that the camera personnel struggles to hold in tight focus, and shifts often, before a jump cut to the next, get used the hopscotch design of transitioning between scenes, as a ride-along with in neighborhood. Meanwhile a voiceover plays pitifully of a woman calling 911 while someone breaks into her home, but sounds horrendous, the glass sounds very cheap. Unsure what the opening tries to tell us, as then switching to a woman wearing a Halloween mask and commits suicide in front of her husband, David Shipman (Tom Sparx) – okay, yeah – sure. We have two strangers David and Lana Williams who you know will team up somehow to both have lost someone special in their lives one year ago on Halloween and 12 hours apart. Then the phrases ‘one year later’ appears on the screen – nice transition to the next Halloween season. This movie also contains its fair share of walking scenes first from David and later Lana (Brittany Jessee) with the constant dreadful framing issues, and then the weirdest panning. As Lana, a woman who lost her brother walks across Butler University in Indiana, while students in the background wearing masks perform in front of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity (likely the Alpha-Alpha Zeta chapter). [Yes, the film had my attention so very much that I figure the location of background shot.] Her car parked in the distant corner parking out, gets into her care, Watch out! Jump Scare – failure – her friend opens the door, the rudely insults her about her missing brother. Informing her he’s dead in alley or in Mexico, but how nice as she sports a Colts hoodie, in the scene the line “sh*t man you scare me” heard twice in two separate cuts at the same moment. The dynamic duo somehow manage to team up and head to the town of Taylorsville, believing everything connects to a hidden secretive group of satanic followers who happen to be following the Reverend Hiram Graves (Bill Levin). A pure side note, in real life Bill, founded and heads the First Church of Cannabis founded in March 2015, a tax-exempt church with monthly dues on $4.20, in Indiana, this just begins to show the cast for the film. Many jump cuts get the viewer to this point, and though movie clocks to the 90-muninte standard horror film length, it sadly feel more like 5-hours, as the scenes wander and plod aimlessly, trying to capture poignant moments but failing.
One quickly realizes who is in charge of the Satanic cult, and along the way get to meet a quirky Vietnam Veteran, trying to act in a comical role, that falters badly, portrayed by none other than, Grandpa from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), John Dugan.
Also, Indianapolis born and based horror host Sammy Terry gets a cameo as well as Sal Lizard of Hillbilly Bob Zombie (2009) portraying a blind man with intense anger. Interestingly enough, Dugan also started in two other films from Easley’s resume. The audience bizarrely sees the cult kidnap five women and kills anyone in their way, as to position their bodies on the five-points of the inverted pentagram to commit the ritual.
The Satanic ceremony brings some very good moments, but just as it starts to clear the fog, of understanding, it all becomes rushed, the blood flow progresses very well. But the coven, the members all wear masks, unifying but individually interesting, creepy, and in total on a trivia note, 31 different ones appear to represent the 31 days of Halloween. As for the satanic prayer interesting but doesn’t captivate, nor does it project in a fearful mode, not even a reversal of the Lord Prayer, but got to like the followers carrying tiki patio torches. Oh Please!
The ending of the film, leaves many plot holes open for one to spelunk into, omitting the development lacks the viewer to understanding the conclusion, especially during a cult shootout with two police officers. First, a shootout is a choreographed dance, containing twists, shifts, ducking, and other motions, it just doesn’t start, rather the setup, conveying how many involved and their position. This allows for both suspense and action to entwine, formally entertain the viewers, but here, no one has clue of the parameters, the distance or confines. In addition, the usage of the firearms and explosion from them works horribly and all mismatched.
While the blood spattering tends for creative input, it can’t help of the gluttony of other errors, the acting stumbles in certain areas, and the characters do not all work well together. The brutality misses on some points in horror films the audience wants especially on low-budgets, not the cookie cutter implied rather the full-on works of gushing blood and guts. Sadly, it appears ever so briefly and looks for the drawn on bullet-hole to the head scene, a doozy. As for the editing, it finds all hit and miss, and the sound effects bring a tint of fuzziness, especially in the final act the audio goes to pieces. The herky jerky camera works in certain cases but not when following someone on calm walk or when trying to capture action sequences please avoid the poor framing, constant close-ups – are we suppose to count nose hairs or pores on their faces.
All Sinner’s Night or All Sinners Night, whichever it chooses, is not a sendup to exploitation classics, nor a nod to Bava or Argento, it never achieves that level, the audio and sound crimp the movie, along with poor framing, and weak dialogue. Aside from a good music score, and some cool masks, along with a reference to both legendary characters Dracula and Scooby-Doo, the film lacks enjoyment, as it all just drags leading to the poor pacing of the story. One redeeming quality, the disc fills itself with many special features such as Atash Saia Trailer; Trailers; Interviews; Outtakes; and Dead Dick Hammer Music Video, but can’t rescue the film, just leave this to rot for another 30- ears in an unmarked grave.
A better cover art available rarely used – why not???
IMDb Rating: 1.5/10
DOA Rating: 1.5/10 (Thanks John Dugan)