This selfishness dips down to the secondary characters, but if I were to list every way they acted in only their self-interest, this review would be 3,000 words long. The one-note characters and their repulsive behavior means the audience does not care about their fate, making the story all but impossible to invest in.
Now, some horror movies derive their thrills from the kills themselves, racking up quite the body count, as the characters all come to a grisly end. But the kills in Black Pumpkin are uninspired and tepid, so the film lacks that same visceral titillation. It does not help matters that Bloody Bobby, aside from when first showing up, focuses exclusively on the Peterson residence for inexplicable reasons. And it is not like they live on the edge of town, or their house is the first one in the neighborhood. Bloody Bobby just focuses on them because… because… the plot has to happen?
“…all the characters are self-obsessed and care only for their wants and needs.”
McGonagle lacks the skills as a director to wring any sense of dread out of the proceedings. Combined with the awful writing, this means the film is all sound and fury with no sense of excitement. But, there is one bright, shining element that manages to save Black Pumpkin from being sent to movie jail. The cast is quite good. Despite the shortcomings with how their characters are written, each actor is convincing in their roles and manages to carve out an engaging presence. This is especially true of Jo Osmond, whose physicality as the slasher villain is truly impressive.
Black Pumpkin aims to be an old school slasher but fails on almost all fronts. Aside from the cast, all of whom overcome terrible writing, there is nothing here to enjoy or scare anyone. The characters are all selfish and one-dimensional. The direction is tepid, failing to generate fear or suspense. There is an endless array of fantastic horror movies set in, on, or around Halloween; seek those out, as this movie offers nothing of value, not even mindless entertainment.
"…offers nothing of value, not even mindless entertainment."