A good horror anthology has a little something for fans of all varieties of the genre. With 10 tales, A Night of Horror offers a wide variety of terrifying stores that despite some promise never fully reaches its true scream-filled potential.
Rod (James Wright) is a the host of a popular horror-themed radio show soliciting scary stories from his listeners. Rarely do their stories strike a nerve so Rod interjects with his own. It’s a simple and clever setup for an anthology making for an easy way to jump genres.
Things get off to a promising start with tales of an invisible woman who takes a woman’s skin to make herself whole. Next up is a young girl being groomed to take over her mother’s job as a photographer of the recently dead so their families have one final picture of the deceased. The trick is to make them look as lifelike as possible, but the girl has to deal with her own uneasiness as well as a seemingly uncooperative subject.
Consistency follows a roller coaster pattern from here on out. After a while it feels like the longer stories are the least effective and lack any true scares or at least some measure of discomfort. The least terrifying features a hair stylist upset at a former client after his delusional belief that her hair was the reason she became famous.
Another features a warden supervising the dismemberment of a pedophile on the orders of the victim’s family, who have no qualms about taking limbs and other parts to mete out justice. This never feels scary since all the harm is being done to a pedophile, possibly one of the more deserving characters for a horror movie style maiming. Too often the longer stories play out too long for an unsatisfying payoff.
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There are some gems though. Maybe the strongest, and ironically the shortest, features a young child who encounters a gift-giving clown with a sinister secret. While the balloons immediately might lead to some It comparisons, that’s definitely not the case with this payoff.
Another standout finds a woman who wakes up in a panic in the woods only to be hunted by a shotgun-wielding pursuer. As the story unfolds the roles get reversed in a very creative manner.
One story that came off odd featured a Spanish creature thriller without subtitles. That put the burden of conveying the story completely on the actors and given the somewhat confusing nature of the story it was only partially effective. At least the work done on the creature itself was solid.
Production values on the various stories are all extremely well done. Nothing feels like it’s done on the cheap and the practical effects are utilized well to avoid mediocre CGI work.
The least effective story is the payoff of Rod’s story as he deals with a prank caller and some unnerving events at the station. There’s a vagueness and poor explanation as to what actually is real and what’s imagined making for a frustrating ending to an uneven horror anthology.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Uncorkd’ Entertainment