Written by: Matt Patti | August 22nd, 2022
The Day After Halloween (Chad Ostrom, 2022) ½ out of 4 stars.
The morning after Halloween night can be pretty rough. Maybe it’s a workday/school day and you spent the night before up far too late partying. Or perhaps you watched some super spooky movies that kept you up the whole night in fear and now have to go to work or school running on minimal sleep. Even if that day directly after Halloween does happen to be a Saturday or Sunday, there’s always the possibility of sadness now that the Halloween season has come to an end, especially for horror fans. I’d bet most folks would likely agree that November 1st is usually not the best day. However, imagine waking up the morning after a Halloween party and finding a corpse in your bathtub, with no idea how it got there. That would make for a worse-than-usual first of November, and great material for a film, right? Well, that’s what director Chad Ostrom’s The Day After Halloween attempts to capitalize on, but unfortunately, like the titular day itself, it is a very disappointing, dull, and dreary experience.
The Day After Halloween takes place on, you guessed it, November 1st. The film follows two friends: Addison and Hayes, played by Danny Schluck (who also happens to be the writer of the film) and Brandon DeLany, respectfully. The pair wake up the morning after a seemingly wild Halloween party and find Hayes’ girlfriend dead in the bathtub. Neither can seem to remember how that came to be and they rush to hide the body in case they are implicated in any way. Through scattered flashbacks of the night prior, the film takes the audience through the events that transpired that October 31st while Addison and Hayes attempt to tackle the situation at hand before questions arise.
The premise has a lot of potential. The publicists advertising this film even give it the tagline: “The Hangover meets horror!” Sadly, this is not the case at all. The magic of The Hangover comes from the audience being invested in the mystery of the previous night just as much as the characters are. As the characters find more and more clues about the night before, the viewer and the characters alike get a glimpse into the insane night that unfolded and it leaves the viewer completely engaged, wanting more.
The Day After Halloween, however, follows a different formula, one that does not work nearly as well. The audience is shown flashbacks in a strange, random order, without the characters discovering anything. The flashbacks are interwoven with Addison and Hayes trying to hide the corpse and seemingly not caring whatsoever about the prior night’s events. The Day After Halloween focuses more on showing long sequences of the Halloween party with irritating, unnecessary timestamps rather than the current predicament Hayes and Addison are addressing in the present, but to be frank neither the flashbacks nor the current predicament are particularly engaging.
Unfortunately, the disappointment doesn’t end there, as The Day After Halloween has more issues than merely a poor formula. The film is very technically unimpressive, to put it mildly. The lighting is poor in some scenes, yielding a horrid gray color, and the audio quality is frequently laughable, with some instances of a very noticeable, jarring mid-sentence switch from audio captured on-set to ADR (Automated Dialog Replacement). The dialogue itself could have been written by a middle-schooler, as it’s loaded with immature, even sometimes offensive, conversations that are an attempt at humor but aren’t funny at all. The performances are also mostly subpar and uninspired.
All in all, the film is a disaster. If I were to mention one positive, it is that the ending is somewhat compelling and much more so than the rest of the film. However, it is a complete departure from everything that the film set up beforehand and doesn’t fit in at all with the rest of the plot. Overall, The Day After Halloween is not worth the investment of time, even at its relatively short length of 82 minutes, and I’d rather take a boring, uneventful November 1st any day over watching this movie.