It began on the night of the harvest hootenanny at the Old Wheary Falls Church in October 1959, the dusk services beginning with a warnings to the eager trick or treaters to have fun and be safe but to obey the rule that the barn is off limits, but when Shirley and George see a lit pumpkin outside those wooden double doors they take it as a sign that the rules had changed, that they were welcome to approach and knock…
Thirty years later, teenager Sam (Mitchell Musolino) has grown up on stories of the barn and the horror it contains, Hallowed Jack, the Candy Corn Scarecrow with his rusty scythe and the Boogeyman, a fearsome miner who kills with his pickaxe, and along with his best friend Josh (Will Stout) they set up their scare stall to frighten the neighbourhood children until Ms Barnhart (Return of the Living Dead‘s Linnea Quigley) steps in to put a stop to their fun.
Their hometown fun derailed, instead they plan a roadtrip with Russell, Michelle, Chris and Nikki (Nickoloaus Joshua, Lexi Dripps, Cortland Woodward and Nikki Darling) when it is announced that metal band Demon Inferno are playing a special Hallowe’en concert with only one proviso on the way to keep Ms Barnhart off their backs.
Little do they know that the town they stop in on the way to collect candy to satisfy their obligation to the church drive was once known as Wheary Falls, the origin of the tales that Sam knows so well, that the supposedly cursed barn still stands, and that the stories have an origin in a terrible truth which awakens every year on Devil’s night.
Written, produced, directed and edited by Justin M Seaman, The Barn is an eighties throwback splatter horror made with copious blood but not a hint of shame, the full moon hanging as heavy over the fields as the synth reverb as the bodies pile up in the barn dance orgy of slaughter.
The knowing performances of the young leads and the storytelling style reminding of Creepshow, the majority of the effects are entirely practical with only minor enhancements from animated effects consistent with the period in which it is set, the atmosphere generated by simple but effective lighting and shadow and Rocky Gray’s retro soundtrack.
Sam trying to keep himself and his friends safe even as they unravel (“I saw him eat a faceburger made out of Russell’s head!”) even as he struggles to make sense of what is happening through his understanding of the rules of Hallowe’en, it is safe to say that The Barn never takes itself seriously, the inevitable weapons prep montage focusing solely on gardening equipment.
Seaman not concerned with attempting to elevate horror to high art, aiming only to entertain with undemanding yet outrageous Hallowe’en fun, while the momentum flags occasionally The Barn is not overlong or indulgent, a more rigid structure of firm foundations than its modest exterior would suggest.