Inspired by the Creepypasta obsession of millennials yet revamped for the rapid-meme-sharing Gen Z, this generationally bipolar movie follows college students dealing with a Halloween party invitation that invades your computer with a cheap-looking flash animation with a floating pumpkin. It gives you 60 seconds to type in your worst fear, and you have to be honest or else it refuses to let you submit. If you don’t submit or answer honestly before the timer runs out, a cartoon witch appears on the screen and tells you that your worst fear is going to come true.

The first victim doesn’t answer in time, and before we even get a chance to know her she’s being killed in a department store by “pig people,” which is really just a dude in a pig mask. Or at least that’s how it appears. Halloween Party, as it moves from pathetic scare to scare, cuts its jolts so quickly that you barely have any time to process what’s there (though it’s pretty fair to say that, while ephemeral, the tackiness is abundantly clear). As the imagery of the spooky stuff gets weirder as the movie progresses, it would have been nice if the film had allowed its kooky creations to breathe. Instead, the jump scares appear and disappear faster than that Instagram post you didn’t actually process while you were mindlessly scrolling through your feed. I guess it kind of makes sense for a movie like this.

It’s difficult as hell to pinpoint an audience for this film, which pivots back and forth from Gen Z 20-somethings who inexplicably name drop things like “Entourage” and Chuck Norris, to douche bros and nerds who resemble the ‘80s cliché. Our protagonist is Grace (Amy Groening). She really likes to sleep, and I spent much of the film envious of her naps. When the first victim is killed, she’s awoken to a phone call, groggily saying, “What?” then rising to attention with a more assertive, “WHAT?” When the second victim goes and she’s alerted, it’s literally the exact same situation and response. And then, at a pivotal point in the movie, Grace just takes a fucking nap in the middle of the day and misses like 15 phone calls. It’s a minute detail at the end of the day, but when you’re watching a movie as lame and excruciatingly drawn out as Halloween Party you need to find ways to occupy the brain.

Grace teams up with the “nerd,” Simon (T. Thomason), and together they attempt to unlock the mystery of this dastardly, demonic meme. You don’t even want to know where the story goes from here, as it devolves into an increasingly bizarre story about deformed children and how they play a role in the meme’s creation… it’s just all so strange. It all leads to a finale underground that is so frustratingly dark that having your eyes closed is an almost equivalent experience, and a laughably stupid final scene that hits the punchline for a joke about “vagina spiders” set up in the first five minutes of the film.

The humor never lands, characters don’t speak like humans, the scare attempts are inconsequential; Halloween Party is a true dud. You can go ahead and decline this invitation.

It was sooner or later before a "killer meme" horror film hit the genre spectrum, and it's unfortunate that a premise with such silly potential is wasted within an inch of its life in Halloween Party.
24 %
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