Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
Under the Radar
To be perfectly fair, chances are that this title isn't exactly "under the radar" in every sense of the phrase. However, it does seem to be one of those movies that lacks just enough to be forgettable. In fact, this was my second time seeing it, and I can tell you already that it's sort of faded on me. There's sadly just nothing much special or different to take away from it, other than the fact that these kids are fighting off zombies using their scouting skills. Admittedly a cool idea, but perhaps too little too late?
The story in question centers on our three main characters. Your average Joe lead, Ben (Tye Sheridan), your average comedy relief sidekick, Carter (Logan Miller) and your average sypathetic loser, Augie (Joey Morgan). The three are all in Scouts together, but due to the fact that they're high school sophomores, Ben and Carter (mostly Carter) discuss leaving Scouts due to their overall lack of popularity at school. But not before they see their friend, Augie, get his "Condor patch" (which I guess is some graduation badge in this version of Scouts).
Before you can say "Scout's honor", however, a zombie invasion begins to unfold with them in the middle, having to use what they've learned in Scouts in order to survive. Along the way they meet Denise (Sarah Dumont), a badass cocktail waitress who can use a shotgun instead of a slingshot. Hey, every good zombie movie needs a badass! Anyway, the rest of the movie has to do with the four of them trying to get to a frat party in order to save Carter's sister, all the while trying to duck and dodge a zombie invasion.
As I said before, there's not a WHOLE lot that they do new here. It's kinda like taking your average teen comedy and blending it with 'The Walking Dead'. While it remains a fun movie to sit and watch, it lacks in anything that really and truly stands out. The formula with the lead, sidekick and loser boy is reminiscent of something like '21 and Over', while the zombie stuff is about as average as it gets.
Don't get me totally wrong though, there's a few funny lines of dialogue in here. But nothing was said that really got me laughing my ass off or anything like that. Mostly just odd giggles here and there. On top of that, there's not a whole hell of a lot these Scouts do that's interesting. They come into a pretty cool climactic scene using their own weapons, but things could have been a lot cooler. I mean, it's a movie about Boy Scouts fighting zombies, you'd think there was more creativity behind trap-setting and the like.
Anyway, I chose to do this one for "Under the Radar" this week to illustrate an interesting point. This is the last fully mainstream zombie movie I can actually think of. It had it's wide, theatrical release, but didn't last very long at all. I'm sure there has been stuff since that I'm just not thinking of, but this was probably the last attempt at actually trying something fairly new with it. Remember, I said "trying". While it remains a not-so-bad movie, it's not-so-great either. But I wonder if it happens to be the title that really and truly starts putting nails in the coffin. 'The Walking Dead' is still going, but I daresay it doesn't have much further to go, and will be the zombie genre's "last legs" so to speak.
Of course, I'm not exactly an expert on EVERY zombie movie out there, so there's always a very distinct possibility I'm wrong about all that. But with the passing of George A. Romero earlier this year, the man who arguable invented the zombie genre, I wonder; SHOULD it be put to rest? At least until it becomes popular with the next generation?
Tales of Halloween
Under the Radar
Here we have another anthology feature just dripping in Halloween. The film is guided by a radio DJ as she goes through a significant amount of Horror stories for Halloween night. How many is significant? How about ten stories for an hour and a half long movie? The beautiful part of it - it doesn't feel like too much at all! As much as it might sound like the film is trying to cram too much into a short time, everything seems to flow surprisingly well, with some stories overlapping others. It works like 'Trick r' Treat' in that every story takes place in the same town, but it's presented something more like 'Creepshow'.
With those ten stories, there seems to be a little something here for everyone. Some of them have a good amount of dark humor to them, others are just straight up horrifying, and others are just okay. It ends up being an interesting balance. 'Sweet Tooth' and 'Grim Grinning Ghost' focus on urban legends while 'The Night Billy Raised Hell' and 'The Ransom of Rusty Rex' are more focused in comedy. 'Friday the 31st' is even a tribute to 'Friday the 13th', adding it's own dash of 'Evil Dead' gore, yet is probably one of the funniest shorts throughout the film. I could be here all day describing what each short is about, but I figure a Wiki page will save some space.
This year was my second viewing of this title, and I'm happy to say that I got more out of it the second time. I think when I first saw it, I wondered if things went a little overboard here. Watching it this year though, it just kinda struck me as doing it's job. There's some pretty gruesome body horror that goes on here from time to time, but I'd like to think that the creepy-factor of things outweighs that.
You're not gonna find a lot of recognizable faces here, save a few minor leaguers. Greg Grunberg might be the most easily recognized actor here. One might recall him from 'Heroes' as Matt Parkman, or more recently 'Star Wars Episode VII' as Snap Wexley. The only other face I recognized here was Madison Iseman, who can be found in the upcoming 'Jumanji 2'. Otherwise, it's a whole new group of actors and actresses, all of whom do a pretty good job with what they've got.
It's no 'Creepshow' OR 'Trick r' Treat', but it's definitely up there as far as good horror/Halloween anthology films go. I also have to give this one a bit of extra credit for it's opening credit sequence; a well done animation that one by one shows you the stories you're about to see, leaving just enough for you to wonder exactly what each story is gonna be about. I think that personally, I've found something new to watch on an annual basis.
Night of the Demons
In my search for Halloween-themed movies that I should catch up on this month, I came across this title in a lot of lists. So, naturally, I gave it a try. After all, the corny stuff of the 80s is what I'm all about when it coms to horror both good and bad. So where does this land? It's a "meh".
The story involves a group of bad acting teenagers, none of which I'm too sure were ever in anything else of significance. Of course, if I'm worng here, do feel free to correct me. There's still a lot I haven't seen. Anyway, these teens are preparing for an epic Halloween bash at the creepy, abandoned funeral parlor known as Hull House. The place is rumored to be cursed, having to do with a gruesome murder that took place on Halloween night, several years earlier.
During the party, and evil force is awakened and takes possession of one of the girls. From there, it kinda shifts to zombie/vampire rules in that if you come into certain contact with anyone possessed, the demon spreads a bit like a virus. Really and truly, however, what we have here is a fairly typical zombie movie if the zombies were more demonic than just shambling masses of dead flesh.
That idea aside, it did seem as though this was an attempt to combine the fiendish gore of the 'The Evil Dead' and the creepiness (and title) of 'Night of the Living Dead', an admittedly clever move for the time, keeping it it's own thing, yet giving the fans what they came looking for. The film has quite a bit going for it. There's pretty kick ass animated intro that lets you know it's meant to be a fun Halloween thrill. Besides that, the overall makeup and practical effects really do tend to shine through. One can use this as a good example of WHY practical effects are a GOOD thing for the horror genre. As a simple fun ride for the holiday, it's pretty good.
There is however one thing that takes away from the whole deal, and it's pretty unfortunate. The combination of acting and dialogue is actually pretty brutal. The acting makes it look like not just a student film, but a high school student film, and the dialogue is just plain bad and dated. Like for example when the lead's little brother tells her she has "bodacious boobs"... dude... no. Anyway, there's really not much sympathy for any character in this Halloween adventure, and you kinda catch yourself just waiting for the next kill instead. It was probably on purpose, but even in the 'Friday the 13th' films I can find someone to route for (Jason, himself) but this didn't have me routing for either the teenagers to survive or for the demons to take things over.
I pretty much concluded that this wasn't gonna be something I would watch every Halloween like 'Halloween', but one that I might revisit just to see if I appreciate it more over time. For the time being though, I just find it really hard to get past that acting and dialogue. But basically everything else about this fits the Halloween mood just right.
Happy Death Day
If I'm honest, when I set this up to be a part of the Halloween Special, it was the title I had the lowest of expectations from. The trailer just made it look like a play on the typical American slasher film with the twist that it's essentially 'Groundhog Day' with a killer. I'm actually very happy to say that it turned out to be a pleasant surprise!
It starts out with our lead, Tree (Jessica Rothe) waking up in some guy named Carter's (Israel Broussard) dorm room after a night of partying. She is your typical "mean girl" as she goes about her day. She treats Carter like crap afterwards, she throws her roommate's surprise birthday cupcake in the trash, she has an affair with one of her college professors, and all the while carries that "I'm better than everyone 'cause I'm pretty" attitude. She's generally just a shitty person. Later that night, she gets murdered by some random wearing a baby mask, and she starts the day over via 'Groundhog Day' fashion with a dash of 'Edge of Tomorrow'. This happens a bunch of times, and each time ends with her death.
The best anyone can come up with is that she needs to figure out who her killer is in order to break the cycle. Of course, in doing this, she keeps getting caught and murdered or otherwise just dying in some other way - like once she gets nailed by a passing by car... not sure that the killer was driving, but it seemed totally accidental. This actually gives way to a rather funny montage where her death almost becomes a joke - something relatable with 'Edge of Tomorrow'.
I think perhaps the best thing about this movie is that it's not as typical as one might think. Tree (I know, the name's ridiculous) finds herself looking inside herself for a lot of it, and eventually finds that she wants to become a better person. It's almost like she's going through a personal Hell and wants to repent. I both hated her and loved her character in this. It helps that I always enjoy a story involving someone terrible who ultimately learns to become a good person. The most classic example being 'Scrooge' and a more recent example being 'The Invisible'.
I have to give the film credit for not only the development of this otherwise despicable character, but for establishing a few rules. She doesn't just come back and start over like Mario would, she comes back with injuries relating to her last death. Each time, it makes her weaker and weaker which in turn gives her situation an actual stopping point, but we never know when it will be. There was one particular death here I think they really needed to do a more with upon her return, and I can almost guarantee you'll be able to point out which one it is. But the idea of there being a limit as opposed to Bill Murray's almost God-like quality in 'Groundhog Day' is certainly clever.
I think the only thing that threw me off here would involve spoiling the movie, so I won't go into too much detail, but I was kinda disappointed with the ending. I won't give anything away, but it's the kind of thing that probably should have ended at a certain point, yet carried on to deliver more twists. In turn, this made my prediction of who the killer was in the end accurate, but it did tease at the idea of me being way off, which MIGHT have been better. That said, if it DID end where I wanted it to, it could have been seen as a total cop out at the same time. So that's just something one will have to judge for themselves.
Overall though, I enjoyed this. It delivered some good, dark laughs, and it was reminiscent of the teen horror of the 90s like 'Scream' and 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'. It was cool that they made the killer's mask the actual school mascot mask (The Babies? Okay, sure, why not?) giving way to the mystery of who the killer is. They sell the masks on campus, so it really could be anyone. I'm not sure that this will become any sort of a regular movie for me, but it was a pleasant surprise to say the least. Oh, and it's 100% self-aware that it's doing 'Groundhog Day', as it's straight up addressed within the movie itself, so bonus points for that.
This is one of those cases where I tend to go against the grain. If you pop over to Rotten Tomatoes to see what they have to say, you'll see a low and critical 16%. Take that however you might, but this is a title I don't think FULLY deserves the criticism it gets.
Anton (Devon Sawa) is a lazy stoner teenager who spends his days on the couch, watching TV and smoking weed. He also enjoys hanging out with his two best stoner buddies, Mick (Seth Green) and Pnub (Elden Henson, who you now know as Foggy of 'Daredevil'). When a series of murders occurs close to Halloween, Anton soon discovers through accidentally killing his mother, father and two best friends, that he's been the killer the whole time. He's managed without realizing it, because his hand is actually possessed by something evil.
Make no mistake, I'm not actually recommending this as a GOOD movie. I'm recommending it as something fun to watch for the Halloween season. One might wonder how I can recommend a stoner Halloween movie after my recent review of 'Halloweed'. Well, truth be told, this movie and I also have a bit of a history.
This was something I first watched when I rented it back at the turn of the century, in which case I was either 17 or 18 when I first saw it. This was also right around the time I was first dipping my toes into horror. It came along as one of the first real horror comedies that I can remember watching, and admittedly helped to really form my love of the mixed genre. Nowadays, I would place it on my list of guilty pleasures, being that it's fun, but it's definitely also stupid and goofy. It strikes you as the type of movie that's simply meant to be that way though. It makes no promises of being some brilliant execution of an original concept. It takes the idea, runs with it, and laughs the whole time. It's a funhouse of a movie, nothing much more.
This was also my first glimpse of the lovely Jessica Alba, who was still fairly new here. She was around, but this was arguably her breakout role, and she's pretty much been typecast as a sex symbol ever since. This isn't hard to believe considering her role here, which is admittedly pretty cringe worthy as far as her character goes - a very sexual teenager who is in skimpy clothing the entire time and has no real personality short of being able to write lyrics... I mean, ouch, but keep in mind I was 18ish when I first saw this. And me being a dude, you guys can probably figure out the rest of the reason I liked her so much.
So what about that "sexism" I brought up in my 'Halloweed' review then? There's a bit of a balance here. While Alba is playing a bimbo-ish character, she can still manage to hold her own when bad things are happening. There's also a black female character in this played by Vivica A. Fox doing the role of the Demon Hunter, coming to town to try to hung this hand down - aka, the actual hero of the story who plays in the background.
So, while it's nothing particularly brilliant, it's still a fun thing to watch just for the sake of Halloween. It's over the top gorey in parts, and isn't shy about making a bloody mess of things, but the comedy aspect has almost become a "so good it's bad" scenario. I'm not saying I would recommend this in the same way I would recommend something like 'Troll 2' or 'The Room'. But if you can manage to just ditch your brain for about an hour and a half of Halloween-related, mindless fun, this is a good title for that purpose.
Under the Radar
I hate to say it, 'cause usually I try to be quite fair when it comes to my reviews, but this has got to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen. What could have been a fun stoner horror comedy turned out to be a perverse, badly written and desperate cry for attention. It's the kind of movie that tries to rely on shock value to draw it's audience in, but it all just comes across as horrible.
Basically, the movie centers on two stoner half-brothers, Joey (Simon Rex - of the BAD 'Scary Movie' films) and Trent (Shannon Brown - some bike messenger from 'Friends'). They share the same mother, but Trent's father (Tom Sizemore!? WTF, man, seriously?) turns out to be a serial killer, sentenced to death. Afterward, Trent decides he needs to move away to a little town called Mooseheart. Trent falls in love with a badly written female character there while Joey gets a gig selling weed through Danny Trejo, and with the help of Jason Mewes - the only two known names through the movie.
Eventually (almost an hour into the hour and forty minute film), killings begin to happen in the small town, involving some guy dressed in a baby costume who somehow manages to giggle just like a real baby. I guess it's supposed to be creepy, but my mind can't land on "creepy" when I'm too busy questioning how the hell he's doing that. At least in 'Scream', you see the reveal of the voice-changer. Here, we don't get shit. But, that's not even the worst of it... (Tom Sizemore?)
There's all these undertones of sexism and racism throughout the movie as well. Take the two black cops who get told by the mayor's son that he "owned them", and they do nothing but get walked all over. Or at the father's execution, there's a bimbo in the back getting off to his very presence, a true WTF moment. I had to wonder if I was watching a dream sequence.
They threw... *sigh*... Tom Sizemore in here for a brief cameo in which he plays the most unpleasant of characters. Just a dirty old pervert who's getting off to a photo of what I assume to be one of his victims. That's bad enough, but they really just let him do that? I mean, I know he's gonna be executed but... was this supposed to be our assurance he was gonna end up in Hell or something? These brief cameos continue with Trejo (who just does what he does, and I admire him for that, so we're gonna leave his ass the hell alone) and Mewes (just playing a dumber version of Jay - and I HATE saying that 'cause I'm a Jay & Silent Bob fan!)
In looking for a place to live, the two main characters find some dirty old man, renting for cheap. His name is Lloyd, and he's played by Robert Craighead. The character seems to relish in being this dirty old man, and we see him just be perverted toward little girls and apparently it's supposed to be funny. I mean, there's raunchy comedy, and then there's that. A good raunchy comedy will have some sort of underlying message by the end. Taking 'Superbad' as an example, it shows us Seth seemingly jumping through hoops to get himself laid. But at the end, he recognizes that he was a jerk, letting her know that he understood she didn't deserve it. This was just... "look at my penis" - the end. And again, apparently this was the comedy aspect.
Aside from everything else, the most important thing here is probably the title. If you read a title that just says 'Halloweed', I think it's fair to assume that it's a stoner Halloween movie... y'know... with Halloween IN it! The most we really get is that there's a killer that shows up maybe 3 times AFTER the first hour, and you can tell it takes place in the Fall, nearing the Holiday. I don't think the movie understood what it was trying to do at all, and it turned out to be a pretty hot mess on boredom, tasteless humor, and punchlines that not only fall flat, but go through the floor. In all honesty, I didn't wanna continue after the opening scene, but I somehow managed to muster up the curiosity to see how bad this got. And, well.... we have a history-maker here, ladies and gentlemen. With 0, count 'em 0 redeeming qualities (not even Trejo could save it, but like I say, he's just doin' his thing) we have our very first flat out, straight up:
I am actually SO happy that I decided to make this one a part of my Halloween Special. It had been about 13 years since I last watched it through, and I remember appreciating it back then as well. I might add that this is only my second time watching it. It's interesting that this never wrapped itself around my mind as a horror classic, but it totally is, in every sense of the word. On top of everything it has to offer, it's book-ended by a Halloween-themed narrative in which an angry father gives his kid a bit of hell about a "trashy" comic book he was reading called 'Creepshow'. He takes it, throws it in the trash, and it presents itself to the audience, thereby showing us what the kid was reading, and the probable reason his jerk father chucked it. This was 1982, so there was still a bit of that old fashioned parenting going around. A father tossing out a perfectly good horror comic wasn't exactly a surprise if you ever heard of it.
Once the film gets itself going, we are treated to five short tales of terror. 'Father's Day' consists of an angry zombie looking for his Father's Day cake. 'The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill' features Stephen King himself as a lone redneck who gets himself into a bad weed-growth situation. 'Something to Tide You Over' involves an interestingly cast revenge story. 'The Crate' features a really cheesy looking, blood-thirsty puppet, and speaks to those people who are overruled by their significant others. Last but not least, 'They're Creeping Up On You' is a bottle short about a bitter old dude with a bad roach problem. I could go into more detail on these, but I'd rather just give you enough to grab your attention. Some of the shorts are better than others, but they were all created by an interesting team up. While King did the writing for this, it was directed by the late, great George A. Romero. I mean, how is that NOT a horror dream team?
'The Crate' and 'The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verill' are both based on short stories that had already been written by Stephen King. Him starring as Jordy Verill adds a sort of passionate layer to that particular short as well. And may I say, King can really act his ass off when he's passionate about it. It's not an Oscar-worthy performance or anything, but it is off the wall and goofy. He creates a real character with it.
Other more famous actors show up here including Leslie Nielson, Ted Danson, Ed Harris, Hal Holbrook, and E.G. Marshall, giving way to a pretty flexible cast. On top of that, this movie (at least in some areas) serves as living proof that a lot of the practical effects of back then hold up BETTER than the CG of recent years. My favorite in particular is this guy who shows up just before the movie starts to take off. From there, it fades into animation, and a lot of the twists and turns that take place throughout the story do the same. It really does end up as though you're watching a comic book unfold before your eyes - BEFORE digital comics were a thing!
If you're looking to get into the Halloween mood with something that's creepy and dark, but not entirely scary and disturbing, this is a GREAT title for it! It's a bit cheesy for this day and age, but in it's case, the cheese is definitely part of the fun (as it is with most 80's horror). I would actually highly recommend this to anyone looking to throw a Halloween party as well. Have the music going, but leave this on your TV as a visual stimulant for the occasion. It's a lot of fun, and it's just the right tone for the season. Although this is my first time watching it in so long, I can honestly say that this will become a new Halloween viewing tradition for myself, right up there with 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!'
Under the Radar
Here we have an overall strange independent comedy horror, centering on a sort of average loser type named Chris. On the eve of Halloween, he heads home from work and comes across a party invitation, fluttering by on the street. He picks it up, looks it through, and for whatever reason decides it's for him. I guess we're to assume that he's that desperate to make friends.
He gets home, prepares for the party and heads out to the address on the card. It turns out that the "party" is taking place in a very shady part of town within the confines of some industrial building. As Chris enters and announces himself, complete with pumpkin loaf, it's quickly revealed that he made a horrible mistake. It turns out that the invitation was bait for some poor sucker like himself, leading to a group of twisted art students. He was there only to be murdered for the sake of their art.
When it's all said and done, this is another horror comedy. However, despite it's funny moments, a lot of it unfortunately falls flat. There's just a couple of scenes here that make the film stop dead in it's tracks. Two big examples being a scene where the students inject themselves with truth serum, and sadly, the climax of the whole thing. The truth serum scene is a fair attempt to develop characters very quickly, but there was something about it that felt cheap. It was almost as if the movie crowbarred in the "confessions scene" from 'Breakfast Club'. The thing is, this was just a group I didn't find myself caring about at all. I honestly just wanted the movie to push forward. As for the climax - one long chase scene with various comedic obstacle that gets stale over time.
If I had to guess, I'd say this was first a student film, and it managed to make it's way through various festivals, developing a bit of a cult following, and good for it for making it this far. For me, though, this just left me sort of numb by the end of it. It's the sort of thing that, to me, is a neat enough idea - it just needs to be remade into something with a little more production value and editing. The director of this, Jeremy Saulnier, actually went on to do 'Green Room'. I didn't see it, but it's my understanding that it was well-received. So, perhaps if you enjoyed that, you'd enjoy this, just based on directorial style.
As I mentioned before, this film HAS managed to acquire a bit of a cult following. I actually stumbled on it's title while researching movies to watch for this Halloween Special of mine. It turns out that it's actually on quite a few "Halloween Movie Top 10" lists out there. So take my opinion with a grain of salt with this one, and check it out for yourself. It's still got some laughs, and some respectable makeup and practical effects, to it's credit.
Sometimes, for Halloween, you just don't feel like going the whole nine yards for horror. Often enough, the most fun movies to watch at Halloween are actually for the family. You have your obvious ones like 'Hocus Pocus', your fun, edgy ones like 'Monster Squad', and those classics like 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'. But here's one that not a lot of people seem to talk much about that I've always found to be a lot of fun. Hell, it was even nominated for a Best Animated Picture Oscar alongside 'Cars' and 'Happy Feet' (which won).
The story begins here with an old crotchety man named Mr. Nebbercracker (Steve Buscemi) who seems to be forcefully shooing kids away from his property, and stealing their toys in the process. Once the deed is done, he heads back inside a very rickety looking old house. All the while, Nebbercracker's across-the-street neighbor, DJ (Mitchel Musso) is spying on him, trying to learn whatever he's up to by stealing these kids toys.
One day, DJ and his best friend Chowder (Sam Lerner) are playing with Chowder's new basketball, which eventually ends up on Nebbercracker's lawn. Upon trying to retrieve it, however, DJ is grabbed by an angry Nebbercracker who, in turn, suffers a heart attack and is hauled away by an ambulance. Once that happens, things start to get a bit crazy as the house appears to have it's own evil soul, as it comes to life, seemingly eating up anyone who crosses it's property. This includes a girl named Jenny (Spencer Locke), who the boys catch almost getting eaten alive, but manage to save her.
With the help of their new friend, DJ and Chowder take it upon themselves to check out what exactly is going on with the house. To the film's credit, the obvious actually doesn't end up being the answer either. It's not a mind-blowing twist or anything, but I have to admit the way they went with things was fairly unexpected.
The animation here does, unfortunately, look rather painfully dated. The look of everything is seemingly pretty basic, including big, plastic-looking doll-like hair that doesn't move much, and somewhat creepy expressions from some of the characters. It's not bottom of the barrel or anything, but it's still fairly mediocre. However, the animation isn't what makes this movie so endearing.
I think the biggest charm from this movie comes largely from the characters themselves. It's a movie that doesn't take itself very seriously, and you find yourself kinda having fun with this select group of kids. Chowder, though potentially irritating, does still have quite a few funny lines as the comedy relief. It's nice to see that the humor in this is not childish and just adult enough. Kinda like watching 'Animaniacs' - aimed at kids, but able to be enjoyed by adults all the same.
To give it some perspective, though, let's take a look at all the talent that lies within this movie. The writers on this were none other than Dan Harmon ('Community', 'Rick & Morty'), Rob Schrabb ('The Sarah Silverman Program') and Pamela Pettler ('The Corpse Bride', '9'). It was directed by Gil Keanon, who would go on to do 'City of Ember' and the 'Poltergeist' remake, which I suppose isn't a hell of a lot to boast about. However, producers on it included the 'Back to the Future' team of Spielberg and Zemeckis. To top it all off, the supporting cast is loaded with voice talent including Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Lee, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, Kathleen Turner and Jon Heder.
The fairest warning I can give you about this film is that you are sincerely just gonna have to throw reality out the window. There's a whole climactic sequence here that, while quite beautifully shot, makes no damn sense. Without spoilers, let's just say it'll make you wonder where the rest of the neighborhood ran off to, suddenly. But, this is just one of those movies you take as it is; Something fun to watch around Halloween. The overall concept is fairly original, and it has quite a few neat ideas, and the writing is often pretty hilarious. It makes for a nice, light, annual watch to get you into the Halloween spirit.