‘A Night of Horror: Volume 1’ is an Anthology That Crushes Expectations (Review)
Directed by: Various
It’s always a joy when you check out a flick that lives up to the promise of appealing trailers and early word-of-mouth praise. I’ve heard from more than a single associate that A Night of Horror: Volume 1 is a surprising overachiever of a picture with a feeble budget but big chills. To those who were kind enough to spread the positive word in my direction, thank you: I’m going to pay it forward and keep it going!
A Night of Horror is exactly what people are saying. It is a low budget affair. It does lack marquee American performers. It is off the wall weird. It’s also a total and complete blast of an anthology.
There were a few segments that felt slightly underwhelming, but overall, the product is pretty solid from start to finish, and there are definitely a few shorts that really crawl under the skin (and a few that disgust, intentionally).
There’s an early segment that drops viewers in a morgue in the late hours of the evening. One employee and one guard fill the building… along with the creepy body on the metal slab that’s about to scare the hell out of everyone involved, especially the viewer. It’s tense and atmospheric. It’s well-shot and beautifully performed. It’s scary – plain and simple, and that’s amazing (we’re all desensitized at this point).
There’s another story that puts infidelity under the microscope and takes viewers on a haunting journey through one subway car to the next. It’s loaded with eerie visuals and some respectable symbolism. It also showcases some of the finest acting in the film. It’s memorable, to say the very least, and while it really doesn’t bear many similarities to Poltergeist 2, there’s something about the “father” in this episode that certainly harkens back to the terrifying Kane.
And finally, wrapping up my personal highlights is a ghost story that sees a group of partying 20-somethings learn that some legends are true. And sometimes it’s best to conduct oneself responsibly, just so – you know – you don’t wander off naked in the woods and end up a corpse with no respectable resting place.
There’s a lot to enjoy here, and there’s a lot of talent involved that may very well go on to produce much bigger and better films in the future. This group of prospects deliver the goods that genre fans want, and everyone has to start somewhere. I think this may end up being a picture that a few stars one day look back on and point to, noting that’s the movie that got my career moving.
Expect performances that surprise for the right reasons, and expect an interesting wraparound tale in which not a single word is uttered, though a message is certainly distributed. There’s spirit within just about every performer and there’s major effort on all technical fronts, that much is extremely obvious. The shorts told within the framing of the wraparound remind us that sometimes even small projects produce huge enjoyment.
If you’ve yet to unearth a favorite anthology of 2017, keep your eyes open. This might just be the little indie machine that outperforms its far more expensive opposition. It’s successfully frightening on a consistent basis, and it’s worth more than one single viewing, which is already more than can be said of plenty of other anthologies. A Night of Horror: Volume 1 is still a gloriously bloody shocker that deserves a place in your personal collection.
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