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Raunch for Raunch’s Sake in Dank “Halloweed”

posterMixing genres is never easy, although successful hybrids can make it seem so. Adding horror to comedy can be an especially hard trick to pull off. Get the right balance of frights and jokes and you get classics such as Evil Dead II or Slither. Get it wrong and you wind up with failures such as anything with Scary Movie in the title.

Halloweed is in the “get it wrong” category. Its attempts at outré raunch amount to nothing more than juvenile dick and weed jokes that wouldn’t make an average 12-year-old giggle. It’s also rarely funny and not at all scary. In fact, the notes I usually take as I watch a film to review end abruptly with “I got bored, stopped taking notes, don’t care.”

Halloweed, to be blunt, sucks.

Trent (Shannon Brown, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Jimmy Kimmel) and Joey (Simon Rex) are a couple of pothead step-brothers; Trent’s dad happens to be a serial killer, Vincent Modine (Tom Sizemore). The two attend Modine’s execution, ludicrously depicted as a party for the families of the victims complete with party hats and popcorn; being electrocuted gives the unrepentant Modine—who we’re introduced to as he’s masturbating to a picture of one of his mutilated victims—an even more ludicrous erection. It’s base humor at its, well, basest.

Modine’s last words to Trent are to avenge his death (because Trent would do this…why?). A rattled Trent goes home, only to get dumped mid-intercourse with his girlfriend. He attempts to commit suicide, but fails because he took his girl’s estrogen pills. Trent decides to move to a new town to pursue a dream he had while strung out on estrogen and booze, and also to get away from the stain of his father’s crimes. Joey tags along to Mooseheart, which is famous as the hometown of the “Candy Corn Killer.”

Mooseheart is also in the middle of a vicious campaign for mayor between the incumbent, Mayor Price (Jim O’Heir, who deserves so much better), and Judge Pilmington (Ray Wise, ditto). Other denizens include a pot kingpin named Patch (Danny Trejo, ditto ditto), who hires Joey to sling his wares; Quincy (Jason Mewes, ditto ditto ditto), who becomes Joey’s #2; and a pretty girl named Madison (Michelle Mueller) who Trent saw in the commercial that led him to pick this idiot’s paradise as his new home.

shannon-brown-and-simon-rex
Trent (Shannon Brown) and Joey (Simon Rex) in “Halloweed”

The two bros bumble around town for what seems like forever (thanks to LazRael Lison’s meandering direction), getting stoned, getting into hijinks, getting blamed for a series of murders that resemble the Candy Corn Killer and Modine’s M.O. Everyone thinks it’s Trent, and Trent wants to solve the case before his life gets even more ridiculous. I only kept watching because I don’t think it’s fair to review a film I haven’t seen all the way; I honestly didn’t care what happened to anyone (except maybe Price and Pilmington because I love O’Heir and Wise).

Like the two lead characters, the movie ambles along from lame joke to lame joke. The main sources of humor are marijuana, genitalia and orifices (one sheriff is obsessed with performing cavity searches), references to Scarface, and worst of all, gay jokes. Most are at the expense of Joey, who is clearly gay but keeps claiming he isn’t even as he’s offering sexual favors to every male in sight. Hint to screenwriter Dale Zawada: Those kinds of stale, low-brow jokes aren’t funny, sober or high.

The half-hearted attempts at horror fare no better than the lack of laughs; the knife-wielding, baby-masked killer is less scary than an unarmed clown standing by the woods. The characters are all one-dimensional, which doesn’t give the actors much to work with; veterans such as O’Heir and Wise certainly are game, but there’s only so much they can do to energize Zawada’s inert material. Brown as a lead is also a problem; I never once cared if he found the real killer or if he died of an estrogen overdose, although I did wonder if he somehow stole Kimmel’s DNA.

Halloweed is like smoking oregano instead of pot: You don’t get high, you don’t laugh, and you’ve wasted a perfectly good spice for no reason.  The film hasn’t got much going for it except raunch, which in this case is neither offensive nor funny, but dull. It’s another in a sadly long line of “I watched this so you didn’t have to” movies, but if you do watch it, don’t say you weren’t warned.

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