Plot: Eve (Lexi Giovagnoli) has just turned eighteen and this birthday is a special one, as a locked chest that belonged to her late mother has been given to her, the last present her mom left behind. She was born on Halloween, so most of her birthdays are at least a little memorable, but when she opens the chest and explores the contents, she realizes this will definitely be one to remember. As it turns out, her mother was a witch and not just that, but many of the women in her family have been practitioners of witchcraft, news that is a big surprise to Eve. She also learns the family dog is actually a magical protector named Barnaby (Martin Klebba), who helps her learn the basics of the witch life and keep her out of trouble. But when she tries to cast a spell to conjure her mother’s spirit, she winds up unleashing an ancestor who isn’t so nice, which puts the entire town in real danger.
Entertainment Value: I can’t claim that All Hallows’ Eve is a good movie by the usual standards, but it is a humorous, often ridiculous slice of family friendly cheese and there is solid b movie entertainment here. The movie also never takes itself too seriously and follows light, broad comedic beats, with some minor emotional ones mixed in, mostly toward the finale. The narrative is one we’ve seen in similar movies time and again, as a young woman comes of age and is drawn into a family secret, but the witchcraft angle is often a fun one, at least. This includes some minor spells and such, but no real occult elements, though religious viewers might be put off, depending on how seriously you take family oriented b movies and all. In addition to the usual family lessons, this one also has a little teen romance, very light however, with most of the movie devoted to silliness and laughs. The movie aims for brisk humor, but there’s also unintentional, b movie style humor as well, from the wooden performances to the stilted dialogue, which are often hilarious. All Hallows’ Eve is not Halloween classic, but it is a harmless, often fun watch, so there’s that. If you have an appreciation for hokey family comedies, you might have a good time here.
One of the reasons this movie has an odd vibe is that our lead is a little, restrained, to say the least. I haven’t seen a lot of Lexi Giovagnoli’s work, but she has been more awake in most of the other efforts I’ve seen. In All Hallows’ Eve, she has minimal presence and seems as if she’s been tranquilized in some scenes, with little reaction or emotion whatsoever. This isn’t deep material, so she didn’t need to dig for those emotions, but even in more energetic sequences, she seems like she just woke up or just doesn’t have the juice to do much. I think it adds to the unintentional humor however, especially when she interacts with her more lively costars, as the dynamic is so off, but quite fun to watch. So I don’t know why she took such a barely awake, sedate approach, but it does inspire some laughs. I think the presence of Dee Wallace might lure in some viewers, but her role here isn’t a prominent one. She is a welcome cast inclusion of course, I just wish she had more screen time here. The cast also includes Martin Klebba, John DeLuca, Ashley Argota, and Diane Salinger.