Let's speak a little of independent horror...not films like "Night of the Living Dead" or "Halloween"...but instead, let's peruse one of those really down-and-dirty, guerilla films..."Mr. Halloween", from 2007.
Upon viewing, this film seems to have two strikes against it, and Sandy Koufax just took the mound to close.
To say the acting is amateurish in almost every case would be being kind; the camera work, whilst there are some really outstanding shots and good composition, is shaky and inconsistent; even the quality of the film is grainy and pixelated, tiling VERY apparent on the blacks and a lot of distortion in long shots; the sound work is hit and miss, a good bit of the dialogue fading into the background behind the overly-amped and D-grade soundtrack; the story is a pretty good one, not entirely original, but done in a convincing and different way, but there are several elements that don't immediately make an overt amount of sense...
...and all of that sounds like a terrible excuse for killing an hour of your time watching it.
(And to you kiddies who don't know who Sandy Koufax is...well, I've been behind the Wall of Sleep for a while;))
When you sit back and take into account that this film was done by a group of basically kids, with probably about two-hundred bucks worth of budget, borrowed equipment, and a weekend or two to work on it, you have to see it with different eyes. I doubt seriously anyone who worked on this film got paid a red cent up front; it was composed purely of passion and dogged determination to get something worthwhile put together in a genre they obviously all love. They sought to bring out a little originality rather than re-hash something someone else had already done, and whereas you can see some elements in the film you've seen before, overall I think they were successful.
The story is simplistic, but sometimes those are the best kind: A small town in New York (the actual hometown of the filmmakers) has an extremely unusual amount of teen disappearances, and local law seems stymied (well, actually, disinterested, but that's a plot point). In this same little town is a guy named Loomis who runs an annual "haunted house" in his garage every Halloween (again, an actual event in this town), and the local teens think he may be the culprit in the disappearances...indeed, even using the bodies of his victims as props. Impromptu investigations begin, and the fun starts.
For this to be a no-budget film, the special effects are pretty good (and somewhat over the top, but they were obviously aiming for that), and if you watch it all with an open mind and appreciation for the genre, it genuinely grows on you before the second reel starts. I'm a fan of indie horror, and can appreciate even the most pedestrian attempts if the heart is in it, and I believe that's the case with this one.
So...casual watchers of the horror flick, you may want to go back, re-read my opening paragraph, and walk on...but you dyed-in-the-wool horrorphiles, if you keep your mind open, will find an enjoyable watch outta this one...don't spend a lot on it, but it's definitely worth seeing.
I give it good marks for the effort, the story, and the pretty good eye for cinematography.
Hat's off to the young Andy Wolf and the family and friends that obviously put so much into this!