Review by Paul Grammatico
Hurt: A Lengthy Labor of Halloween Havoc
Halloween is an interesting time that many people circle on their calendar. It is a time for letting loose, impersonating a fictions person or entity for a day, watching scary movies, giving out candy to the youngsters, or even going out with some friends to partake and participate in some Halloween-themed amusement park filled with haunted houses and sideshows. The parks were one of my favourites as it was fun to see my friends (and myself) receive various jump scares when various costumed ghouls would jump out at you from just about everywhere. Despite all the theatrical terror and menace, it was all in good fun. Hurt, a Halloween horror film provided by Zed Filmworks and distributed by Gravitas Ventures, provides a small-town Halloween fair that a soldier and his wife go back to as it was one of their regular haunts growing up. This time, however, the results are far different.
Tommy (Andrew Creer) reunites with his wife Rose (Emily Van Raay) after a tour of duty in the army. When they hang out with their next-door neighbours Mark (Bradley Hamilton) and Lily (Stephanie Moran), it is revealed that Tommy is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. To get away from being cooped up in the house, Tommy suggests going to a favourite Halloween spot in town. When they arrive, they witness a fake hanging where Rose blurts out, “Hang the bitch!”, when the faux execution is finished, a mysterious killer who dons one of Rose’s masks, murders Mark, kidnaps Lily, and terrorises Rose.
This horror feature, co-written and directed by Sonny Mallhi, gives us a sense of another unnamed killer, wreaking havoc on a pair of unsuspecting couples. While the atmosphere is good, it’s a film where, for the most part, not much happens. Much of the film feels like it has a lot of “filler” to it where shots are held for an inordinate and, at times, excruciatingly too long. There are also various shots where, while nice, doesn’t move the story along.
This film might have fared better if one of two things had taken place: It might have fared better if this film was shown as a short. The subject isn’t worth the 93-minute run time. If 30-45 minutes could have been excised, the film would be much more watchable.
If viewers are going to be subjected to the feature run time, more character development would have been a good idea as the characters are one-dimensional. Delving into Tommy’s PTSD would have been a great start, but it is never discussed which is a huge opportunity that gets tossed away.
The performances are marginal at best but it’s not completely their fault as their characters are drawn so superficially. I enjoyed Andrew Creer’s performance for what little we see him in the film. I thought his bathroom scene trying to keep himself together while battling mental trauma is engaging but disappears which is a disappointment.
This is an extremely slow film that lacks moments and misses opportunities. Hurt, with its far too long run time and predictable twist, not only inflicts pain upon its characters, but on the viewer.
HURT hits theaters & VOD/Digital on December 10th 2021.