One Night In October is the vision of one Christopher M. Carter, who wrote, directed, produced, and edited the film. He also served as the director of photography and had a hand in the art direction as well. The movie proves overall to a great movie, but the editing and cinematography choices are a bit off at times. After Michelle is done decorating for the night, she goes for a run. The camera follows her out of the house and stays on her until she’s well out of frame. The handheld camera, which is used a lot throughout the film, just stares at the house across the street until it succumbs to gravity and aims at the road. This could have been cut a second or so earlier, and there wouldn’t be an issue. Michelle leaves the frame, fade to black, and the whole movie feels much tidier and sports a more polished look overall.
There’s a moment or two which need just the slightest term to tighten it up present in each segment. And that is the only problem in One Night In October, as it is a fantastic, frightening ride otherwise. Carter maintains a steadily building sense of dread throughout. But make no mistake, the film is a slow burn, so the horror simmers just below the surface for a while. But once the mayhem explodes onscreen, it is a cathartic release of pure gleeful carnage. The fact that he is able to keep this level of suspense on an even keel for all three stories is remarkably impressive.
From a writing perspective, Carter interweaves the stories at the exact right instant to leave the viewer wanting more while also tantalizing with where the (now) current tale is heading. All three stories are captivating with strong, sympathetic characters, and I am not just talking about the protagonists. Carter has done an excellent job of giving each person compelling motivations and three dimensions.
“…enough strange things going on to keep the audience hooked while maintaining characters that are alluring enough to invest in.”
One Night In October is helped immeasurably by its cast. Jessica Morgan mesmerizes as Michelle, especially starting around the one-hour mark. Her serene attitude when talking to Hewitt is a guise that masks a terrifying soul. This true self slowly emerges through conversations with herself, and Morgan nails these moments. As the leader of the bandits, Rieffer is also quite good. Watching his pleasant demeanor slip away to the casual indifference of a thief is a lot of fun.
As the quartet of friends Casey Norman, Kaitlan Renee, Sara Jackson, and Andrew Kincaid share easygoing chemistry. This allows the audience to instantly invest in their friendship and be scared for their safety, all within just a few scenes. Erin Colleen Marshall is quite intimidating as the owner of the land they trespass on. Netherton sells Emma’s heartache and resentment over the hand life has dealt her. Late in the film, this heartbreak takes on a disturbing new angle.
One Night In October could use a few edits here and there for a more taut experience. And the handheld cinematography is a bit too shaky at times. But this anthology boasts three fascinating tales with engaging characters as well as a genuinely scary atmosphere that culminates in a frenzied ending that rewards the patient viewer.