The film’s titular “bad apples” are tween-age twin girls (Alycia Lourim and Heather Vaughn) who share both an inseparable sisterly bond and a giddy appetite for murder. Born under horrific circumstances on Halloween night years before, the twins – disguised in creepy doll-face masks a la The Strangers – decide to take their bloody revenge on a picturesque suburban neighborhood on All Hallow’s Eve, eventually bringing their reign of terror to the home of a young married couple (Brea Grant and Graham Skipper) who moved in just the day before.
That’s the movie in a nutshell, a serviceable if unoriginal setup for what could be a tense, unsettling little Halloween-themed bloodbath. The issues, however, mostly lie in the execution. It’s definitely not a problem that Bad Apples wants to be both a slasher flick and a home-invasion thriller – those two flavors of horror go together like the proverbial peanut butter and chocolate – but tonal confusion and some clunkily choreographed suspense sequences hold it back from being fully satisfying in either of those areas.
“Could be a tense, unsettling little Halloween-themed bloodbath…”
To Coyne’s credit, the chosen aesthetic certainly works in Bad Apples‘ favor. Shot in flat, gritty tones reminiscent of 70s drive-in exploitation movies or the subsequent decade’s shot-on-VHS slashers, it nicely hearkens back to an era of horror before the prevalence of PG-13 ratings and computer-generated bloodshed (the gore effects on display look entirely practical, and decent, at that). Grant makes for an appealing and sympathetic lead, generating some real audience concern especially in the scenes that find her character trapped in the house being menaced by the murderous duo. The twins speak only in maniacal titters and high-pitched “trick or treats” – any villain-monologuing about their backstory is thankfully avoided – and it’s their relative silence that makes them so frightening.
Well, that and, of course, those masks, which are damn creepy.