Halloween in New Caney, Texas, is slow and quiet. Rose (model Emily van Raay, in a striking debut performance) is having trouble connecting with her husband Tommy (Andrew Creer), who recently returned from military deployment and is struggling with PTSD. Rose’s sister and her husband urge them to head to the town’s haunted hayride to relive old traditions and maybe try to rekindle their relationship. The fairgrounds are filled with masked monsters and fake blood and death. Tommy runs off and the night gradually descends into chaos. Sonny Mallhi’s exquisitely realized third feature digs up the violence bubbling under the modern American experience and serves up a smart treatise on trauma. This truly gruesome and terrifying slasher flick reminds us that death is very real, and it’s not only the monstrous villains who wear masks. New York Premiere
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