More Horror for a Teen Market
It's been nine year since the car accident in which her mother was killed and Emily Walton (Noell Coet) not only still feels guilty but has been psychosomatically blind and asthmatic ever since. With her over protective father, David (Daniel Hugh Kelly), they have moved to a new home in the country where her father is getting his life back together having met someone new. But David feels guilty when on mischief night he has a date, leaving Emily home alone on a night when college kids are egging houses and so on. But college kids are the least of Emily's problems when she finds herself with an axe wielding, yellow rain coat wearing intruder to deal with.
As I watched "Mischief Night" I came to a conclusion; director Richard Schenkman has probably watched a lot of horror movies in his time especially those orientated to a teen market rather than those who have explored the non commercial side of horror. My reasoning is because "Mischief Night" is a by the book horror movie hitting many of the same notes that other modern horror movies aimed at a teen market hit.
What that means is that "Mischief Night" constantly feels familiar from Emily having psychosomatic blindness to the creepy axe weilding slasher who suddenly for no reason decides to target her, appearing ominously in the background of the home they have moved in to. In fact her home looks familiar as does the fact that Emily's boyfriend climbs through an upstairs window to sneak in and see her. Even the camera work has that sense of being familiar with the same out of the door pull backs which I have seen in dozens of other movies.
Now on one hand this makes "Mischief Night" a solid horror movie for a teenage crowd but it is only ever average, trading on the look more than anything. But it is all by the book and not only never creates any real tension but is painfully obvious. Emily drops her asthma inhaler and you know she is going to have an asthma attack within the next 10 minutes before you have forgotten that she dropped it. When she accidentally smashes a glass fruit bowl you know that at some point as she moves around the house she is going to cut her bare feet. And if things sort of make sense then they can throws some out of the box twists at you which on one occasion surprised me.
What this all boils down to is that "Mischief Night" is a by the book horror movie, the sort of which works for a teen audience who won't have watched many horror movies. But for those who have already done this sort of horror movie this offers up nothing that they won't have seen done before and in truth on some occasions done better.