While there are a few obvious nods to Carpenter’s Halloween early on, we would expect nothing less of writer Kenny Caperton, who owns and lives in The Myers House NC (a life-size replica of Michael Myers’ home), and the fun genre references are just beginning.
Newcomer Mariah Brown carries the film as Jackie Blue, a quiet and somewhat depressed girl whose birthday happens to be on October 31, though she is not much excited to celebrate it or the holiday she shares the date with.
Things go meta, in the best traditions of Scream and Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys, once Jackie clocks in at her job at the local movie theater, where of course they are showing a slasher flick called Sleepover Slaughterhouse III, giving the real life filmmakers a fun opportunity to show off a very differently toned movie within the tightly wound world they have already created around Jackie.
A number of colorful characters pop up to help talk Jackie into attending the costume party that night, but none more entertainingly foreboding as Professor Lynch, played by Frank Aard, who is given the film’s best speech about the true history of Halloween.
The soundtrack is actually pretty amazing, with a score by Billy Polard and Brian Rey that evokes the best of Tarantino at its wildest and Carpenter at its creepy quietest, punctuated throughout by some well used Halloween-friendly pop tunes from Boris Pickett’s classic Monster Mash album.
While some younger audience members may complain about the slow pace of most of the film, I enjoyed the Haddonfield-esque establishing strolls through this new world, and that patience was ultimately more than rewarded with one hell of an ending.
Where so many other recent genre films have impressed me right up until the final act, when too many can’t seem to come up with a fitting ending, Honeyspider thankfully does not fall into this trap, as the climax is both unexpected and fully satisfying.
This is the throw back horror movie that genre fans have been begging for, an original and lovingly crafted exploration into evil, bathed in the sweet honey that is Halloween night, gradually dragging you where you always knew it would end up but could not let yourself believe it.
I foresee the Honeyspider cult only growing over the years, as this fun little walk through the independent spirit, raised and educated on the best of genre cinema, finds a legion of willing followers to rank this among the best of its kind.
official rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars