Unless Netflix has released another original in the past week, which, if we are being honest is very likely, this is the most recent Netflix Original film on the streaming service. I had planned to watch it when it came out but I kept getting sidetracked with football and other things. It wasn’t as hyped up as Uncut Gems and with no effort whatsoever, I managed to avoid hearing any spoilers about this film. Are people not talking about it as much? Probably, it’s a very dumb movie. With that being said though, it did have its moments and it was nice to just switch off and have some dumb laughs. Especially after all the hard work that went into watching Ju-On!
The film was dedicated to the memory of Cameron Boyce, who sadly passed away last year at the age of 20. Boyce had previously worked with Sandler in Grown Ups 1 & 2 and was set to star in the film as well. Unfortunately, due to epilepsy complications, he passed away just before shooting was due to commence. May he rest in peace.
The film stars many of the usual Adam Sandler crew : Steve Buscemi, Rob Schneider, Kevin James, Julie Bowen…and basically everyone who was in Grown Ups. Even Shaq made another appearance! I think the best cameo was right at the beginning of the film, when Ben Stiller reprised his role as Hal L from Happy Gilmore. If you don’t remember, he was an orderly at the nursing home for Happy’s grandmother. Now he works as a prison guard. He dropped the classic “You’re in my world now” line.
Tyler Crumley took on the role of Adam O’Doyle, I’m sure you remember the O’Doyle family from Billy Madison. “O’Doyle Rules”. Ray Liotta played some local jerk. I recognised Noah Schnapp (from Stranger Things, when did those kids grow up?) and countless other faces. It was a pretty star studded cast. Speaking of growing up, since when was Kenan Thompson in his 40s? I must be getting old myself.
The plot is basic enough, set in Salem, Massachusetts, it is obviously revolved around Halloween. I’m sure you guessed that from the title. Hubie Dubois is a lifelong local and his family has been in Salem since the original witch hunts. Hubie is the towns (self-proclaimed) Halloween Helper/Monitor.
Hubie is a doofus and nobody in town respects him at all. HE has this weird voice and is always doing a weird thing with his mouth. I wonder if it hurt Adam Sandler to always be pulling that face. Dubois is always teased and the victim of constant practical jokes. Hubie is so easily scared and not the brightest of individuals, so he makes himself an easy target. He doesn’t stand up for himself, even though he has a super cool swiss army flask, that could definitely kill someone. That false seriously has a function for everything and should kill it in merchandise sales.
Over the course of the movie, we get lots of classic horror movie bits. We get a werewolf move in next door, an escaped convict from a mental asylum and a bunch of missing people. There are the mean kids wearing the masks from the “Scream” films and lots of cheap jump scares (for Hubie, not for the viewer). We even get the town mayor who refuses to put the safety of the citizens over the financial success of the town.
The missing people are all people who have bullied Hubie throughout his life. Hubie becomes the top suspect and flees so he has a chance to clear his name. Which takes about 2 minutes. With the help of Shaq, his love interest (Violet Valentine) becomes the top suspect. Hubie goes undercover to try and get her to slip up. The mission is abandoned when they trace the kidnapper/killer to Hubie’s house. Fearing for his mother’s safety, Hubie rushes home to save her.
It is here we find out who the kidnapper is. It wasn’t the werewolf. It wasn’t the escaped convict. It wasn’t Violet Valentine. Nope, it was the sweet and lovely, Mrs. Dubois – Hubie’s mother. Where did they steal that idea from?
She spends the movie wearing different t-shirts she buys from the thrift shop. They all have sleazy slogans like “Boner Donor”, “Happy Hallo-Weener” or the ever classic “it won’t lick itself”. It was a cheap joke, but nonetheless effective and very funny. One of the highlights in each of her scenes was reading the new slogan on her shirt.
Anyway, she is tired of everyone bullying Hubie and is sending a message to the town before she goes. Ultimately, Hubie decides to save their lives and prevent his mother from burning them at the stake. They continue to tease him and call him names. His mom chastises them all and makes them realise they are being bullies. She then vanishes into thin air.
Hubie goes from being town loser, to suspect, to the hero. He gets the respect of the town, gets married to his lifelong crush and becomes the new mayor. Don’t expect any Oscars for the screenplay, but what do you expect from a Happy Madison production?
This movie is filled with slapstick, over the top acting and cheesy jokes that were funny when we were in primary school. In other words, an Adam Sandler film. That’s not a criticism though. If you don’t like Adam Sandler, I’m sure you hate this movie. But why would you watch it if you hate him or his movies? You know what you are getting in to.
So, if you like Adam Sandler and his dumb movies, you will enjoy this. It’s classic Sandler, just being an immature idiot with his friends and calling it a movie. It’s obviously not as enjoyable as Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore, but it still has a certain charm to it. It was refreshing to just watch him going back to being the guy I watched on TV when I was a kid.