Home Invasion movies have been around longer than people want to give them credit for. I love when friends say “Hey Travis what’s up with all these new home invasion type movies.” My response to them is to remember being a kid and hearing the urban legend about the babysitter who gets the phone call from inside of the house and then they get it. Home invasions are the ultimate terror primarily due to how real they can be. Mischief Night is one such movie. Based on an actual “holiday” (tread lightly) the lore of this night can be traced all the way back to the 1870’s. Not to be confused with Hell Night or any other variation Mischief Night is intended to be a harmless evening filled with pranks, eggs and toilet paper, or so it would seem. In this film a young woman blinded by a tragic accident in her life becomes prey to a sick game by a home intruder interested in doing more than lighting bags of crap on fire and leaving it on her front porch.
The film stars Noell Coet (Revelation Road) as Emily a young woman who has been psychological blinded after witnessing her mother die in a fatal car crash. The film starts with her speaking to her therapist Dr. Pomock (Ally Walker / Sons of Anarchy) who thinks her blindness is due to this traumatic event and if she comes to grips with understanding it was not her fault she could get past it. Her father David (Daniel Hugh Kelly) has done everything he can to care for his daughter but it is time for him to start living his life again. He has a date with a friend but little does he know when he leaves his daughter at home that all this terror would ensue. One ray of light in Emily’s life is her boyfriend Jimmy (Ian Bamberg / Second Time Around) who sometimes himself takes in the festivities of Mischief Night but seems more concerned with sneaking in the room of Emily. I swear I thought of the classic scene in the iconic film Scream when Jimmy came in to talk to Emily. They both will be put to the test in this cat and mouse game between them and the intruder.
Mischief Night is a very solid horror film that reminded me of home invasion thrillers in the late 80’s and 90’s. You guys remember Panic Room? That’s a great home invasion film and the tone of this movie is fairly similar because even though Emily is not trapped in one single room of the house she is caught in the darkness that clouds her own eyes. The best part of Mischief Night by far is the intruder. The way he toys with Emily by playing in the shadows, appearing when least expected, and at times standing right in front of her is spot on. Just the mask itself is creepy enough to send any homeowner into a frenzy but I loved the sly cunningness that was displayed by the killer. It really added to the film and allowed you to experience the terror that Emily must have felt being tormented by the assailant.
The pace of the film is very exceptional as it clocks in around 87 mins. Most of the film encomapsses one night so from the start you are drawn into this thriller only briefly knowing the back history of our main character. As she deals with the killer she also fights the inner demons of what happened with her mother and we witness an inner struggle rarely scene in a film of this nature. Now I have seen tons of reviews for this film and frankly I disagree with what it’s being compared too as I feel the general audience is not familiar with the true history of home invasions. This film falls in line along with movies like Funny Games, and You’re Next due to the brutality of the killer and overall manipulation of his intent. If you are a fan of movies like these then add this to you must see list, but I do feel that Mischief Night is solid enough to appeal to any fans of horror. 3/5
Mischief Night will be available on DVD and digital download on December 17th, 2013. The film is directed by Richard Schenkman and stars Noell Collet, Ian Bamberg and Daniel Hugh Kelly. It is being distributed courtesy of Image Entertainment. For more information on Mischief Night visit their official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/officialmischiefnightmovie