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Halloween goes from magical to terrifying in this gore-filled horror anthology that treats genre fans to plenty of practical effects and twisted stories.

Written and directed by Christopher M. Carter, One Night in October takes its own approach to the horror anthology movie. For me, anthologies are a Halloween treat, and films like Trick ‘r Treat and Creepshow have spoiled us with scary and spooky fun in bite-sized pieces. Though One Night in October isn’t as sweet as those iconic movies, it does have treats to offer those of us looking to fill our plastic pumpkins on October 31st.

A tale of three separate stories starts innocently enough with a young woman, Michelle, (Jessica Morgan, The System, Overwatch) decorating her yard for Halloween, placing pumpkins and ghosts just so for the perfect spooky setting. She’s noticed by a neighbor, Hewitt (Dustin Rieffer), who is, in my opinion, immediately creepy and seemingly comes out of nowhere. This sets the stage for a slow-paced film that takes its time to work up to the scares.

Of the three stories, two held the most promise for me, with The Scarecrow having the biggest potential for frights.

There are few things creepier than a cornfield; I’m convinced Malachi from Children of the Corn hides behind each stalk. Having a group of friends, including a cute couple (Casey Norman and Kaitlan Renee), one of whom is a math whiz who seems to be the only level-headed one in this group, get stranded with a broken-down car is definitely a great lead-in for this creepy tale.

This story definitely has a gripping plotline, and it’s probably the most developed story of the bunch, which makes it the second-best story in this anthology. The audience is given background for the creature as well, which ends up giving this terrifying tale some flesh.

The third story lacked the most in detail, especially when it came to not only the urgency of the situation but who these characters actually are.

This is, again, a good lead-in for more suspense than scares with Emma (Rachel Netherton, Fractured) and Dominic (Nathan O. Miller, Fractured), who are clearly in love yet can’t get together more than a few times a year.

Though the story culminates in some suspense when you find out what secret Emma is hiding and what proves to be one reason for their complex relationship, I wanted a little bit more from this piece of the puzzle and from these characters, like some background information to add meat to this story. There was just something missing from this bit that had me longing for more sustenance, and there isn’t really a clear explanation for the characters’ actions, which makes the story anticlimactic.

Michelle, the Halloween fan from the introduction, is the star of this series with a more developed storyline and is backed by some standout special effects that immediately made me see where all the money was spent in this small, but well-developed film.

The film ties up its last installment with a pretty spectacular gorefest that I was pleasantly surprised to see.

Let’s just say that Michelle may look sweet, but she’s not so innocent if you mess with her on Halloween.

A nice twist makes this storyline easily the freakiest and most engaging of the bunch, and it was nice to finally see some character development, though the entire movie could have used more.

Overall, One Night in October had the potential to be a bit more than it was in actuality.

Packed with lots of interesting stories and likable, intriguing characters, the film somehow fell just a bit short of completely engaging me with its less-than-detailed storylines and somewhat hollow plots that almost but didn’t quite make it. The slow pacing of the film also makes everything less intense even in frightening moments. Even some of the dialogue feels a bit slow and spaced-out. Also, I definitely wanted more of a tie-in between all three stories that was more obvious, or maybe I just missed it!

Like a pretty piece of chocolate that looks delicious but doesn’t fully deliver, this treat was a bit lacking in the gooey center filling.

However, if you’re looking for a fluffy, fun, cotton candy film and you have a stomach for some fairly realistic gore, One Night in October is a light film that leaves room for you to indulge on heartier fare as the evening wears on.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3

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