Movie Review: Halloweed (2016)
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Directed by LazRael Lison
Written by Dale Zawada based on a story by Michael Bussan
Starring Shannon Brown, Simon Rex, Jim O’Heir, Michelle Mueller, Jayson Bernard, Ray Wise, Jason Mewes, Deje Dee, Lester Speight, Danny Trejo, Tom Sizemore
Screen Media Films
Runtime: 101 minutes
Release date: November 8, 2016

In Halloweed, a new horror-comedy from director LazRael Lison, Shannon Brown stars as Trent Modine, the son of the Bridgeport Butcher (Tom Sizemore), an infamous serial killer who’s on death row. To escape the stigma of their father’s legacy and make a better life for themselves, Trent and his idiotic half-brother Joey (Simon Rex) — lured by an infomercial — move to the small town of Mooseheart just in time for Halloween. As luck would have it, the place boasts some awesome weed, which is great for the two stoners, especially Joey, who immediately starts dealing. Unfortunately, this quiet little town also has a haunted reputation thanks to a string of unsolved murders committed long ago by the Candy Corn Killer, who seems to have made a return just as Trent and Joey arrive. Fearing they’ll be blamed for the latests string of murders, the brothers go on a hunt to find the real killer before the locals discover their true identities.

The indie film begins with an animated opening-credits sequence set against the original song “Monster Hash” by all-girl alt-pop band True Violet, with TMPO. The spooky yet catchy tune immediate sets the tone for the film. We see Trent and Joey smoking up and driving down the road, passing by many of the characters we’re to meet in Mooseheart. There’s the campaign posters for the town’s Mayoral election, which pits incumbent Mayor Price (Jim O’Heir, who played the bubbling Jerry on Parks and Recreation) against Judge Pilmington (veteran character actor Ray Wise). There’s Mayor Price’s cocky, sports car-driving son Connor (Jayson Bernard, who’s also a producer for Halloweed), and his estranged girlfriend Madison (Michelle Mueller), who Trent falls for. We then see Sheriff Johnson (Lester Speight) and his anal-cavity-searching Deputy Thompson (Deja Dee) chasing down the bong-holding weed-dealer Quincy (the one and only Jason Mewes, half of Jay and Silent Bob of the Kevin Smith movies), who Joey partners up with. Trent and Joey then invoke the ire of Danny Trejo‘s Patch, Mooseheart’s main marijuana and pumpkin supplier, who later bestows upon us the wisdom that “He who has the weed has the power,” while their perverted new landlord Lloyd (Robert Craighead) is there offering free ice cream to children. There’s also some other Easter eggs in there foreshadowing what’s to come, which I didn’t even notice the first time around.

After the animation concluded (it also returns at the end of the movie), it’s off to the penitentiary to see the Bridgeport Butcher’s death by electrocution, the punishment for his many heinous crimes. Seated with a room full of overreacting onlookers, it’s here we see just how uncomfortable Trent is with his position in life, especially since his father expects him to finish his “work.” This scene is a mix of horror, fright, comedy, and absurdity that’s a true indication of what the bulk of the film is. But then the story loses steam for a while when Trent and Joey have to decide what to do next and how to do it; as Joey sets up his new business; and Trent gets to know Madison, who works as a Suicide Support Counselor. But once Connor returns home, the election campaign gets underway, and the new murders begin, Halloweed really takes off.

There’s various directions the film takes, but they don’t always diverge so smoothly. The whole stoner storyline with Joey, Quincy, and Patch seems unnecessary to the film’s premise, but thankfully it doesn’t hinder it either. The election subplot does manage to mesh nicely with the slasher horror element. Just like he did on Parks and Recreation, Jim O’Heir steals every scene he’s in, as does his rival, played by the great Ray Wise; they could have made the whole movie a political comedy with these two running for mayor and it would be enough. Jayson Bernard succeeds in making you hate that smug son of a bitch Connor, while Robert Craighead’s crazy Lloyd might have been a little bit too over the top sometimes. Simon Rex, who you’ll recognize from Scary Movie 3, 4, and 5, plays Joey as an annoying and immature sidekick to Trent’s more level-headed leading man, and his dialogue relies heavily on gay innuendo for laughs.

The best part of Halloweed is its appeal as a lighthearted slasher film, with its killer who wears a baby mask and leaves candy corn with his victim’s body. There’s classic slasher tropes, but since this is also a comedy, it’s more like an inside joke for horror fans, similar to how the FOX television series Scream Queens is styled, except it’s with two stoner dudes instead of stuck-up sorority girls. I liked the part where Trent and Madison carve a pumpkin, but he’s too squeamish to clean the seeds out. Also, Lester Speight and Deja Dee’s sheriff and deputy duo are hilarious and a standout here, and I only wish they would have connected more to the main storyline.

Halloweed isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but its stoner humor and absurdity are silly enough to make you giggle and smile (and sometimes cringe), while its murder-mystery is intriguing enough to keep you interested. Plus, its tie-in to Halloween and its multiple serial-killer profiles make it fit viewing for the Fall season.


Halloweed – Official Trailer

Trent and his best bud Joey move to a small town to escape the shadow of his serial killer father. But right after they roll up, everything goes to pot as the bodies pile up and they must weed out suspects and smoke out the killer.

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