Because the title Mischief Night has already been used for two fun pre-Halloween horror flix, this SyFy original – that aired two nights before Halloween – went with The Night Before Halloween (which means we now officially have horror movie titles to bookend Halloween: The Night Before Halloween and The Day After Halloween).
In the first five minutes of this film, there’s promise of a good dose of holiday spirit, with a group of teens arriving home to find the front door open. Soon they are having a scary experience involving a Jack o’ lantern death trap.
Terrified that an accident involving holiday shenanigans will ruin their lives, the kids get themselves into an I Know What You Did Last Halloween Eve scenario. They also discover it’s all part of a curse that requires the person infected with the curse to trick someone into killing someone else…or else. Sound confusing? It’s even more confusing than that, because it has to happen before midnight on Halloween Eve. Which, well, gives the infected person a year to trick a friend into murder! Fail in doing so, and a monster comprised of a swarm of flies comes and swallows your soul.
This fly monster is definitely a SyFy worthy CGI creature, delivering some cheap visual thrills but no scares or blood. It would have been nice if it had been carrying a pumpkin around, because despite the film taking place on October 30, there are no signs of the holiday after the opening scene. So what we have here is pretty much just another SyFy teen supernatural creature feature. As bad as this shitty group of friends is as they throw any one they need to under the bus to stay alive, it’s the black guy who’s made to look one worse than the rest. Brace yourself for this shocker…he ends up looking like a thug with a gun.
Despite how generic The Night Before Halloween is and despite its lack of holiday spirit, it deserves credit for featuring one of the best scenes ever of someone being tossed by the impact of an explosion inside a building.
Also of note: main girl Bailee Madison played the little girl in the Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark remake, lead boy Justin Kelly was in slasher Lost After Dark, and director Sheldon Wilson has directed a shitload of (mostly made for TV) horror flicks including Carny, Scarecrow, and The Hollow.