“Heeeeeeeeeere’s An [insert here] for Halloween!” – Shiny Jack Nicholson.

Welcome (or Velcom, if I were a vampire) to 13 Days of Spoopoween– a review a day, right up until the spoopiest day of all! No, not Friday 13th.

Let’s start off the season with October Kiss, a film where protagonist Poppy is deathly afraid- of commitment!

It doesn’t sound like much, but it is scary watching how little employability Poppy has- she’s a yoga instructor one minute, a pizzeria chef the next. Neither go well (not to mention, I doubt those jobs really provide many transferable skills when you’ve been doing either for just a weekend). Just when I worry this is going to turn into a creepily accurate depiction of job stability, Poppy’s sister reminds her that she’s good with kids and should become a nanny. And it’s that simple- DBS check, schmee-BS schmeck.

Hallmark Channel’s knowledge of becoming a nanny is almost equal to their knowledge of app design. Poppy’s employer Ryan is a tech tycoon who spouts phrases like “6 million downloads” and “great interface” like those qualify as full sentences. Ryan is, of course, a widower- Hallmark seems to think they’re more eligible than divorced dads which I guess must be a plus side to massive bereavement.

Ryan’s kids, Zoe and Zach, are absolute no-fun children. At the farm Zach loses his shit when he sees some goats, and then Zoe delivers this…zinger?: “I know why they’re called nanny goats, nannies come in and try to take over everything.” Have any of you seen these rampaging micro-managing goats? They’re not even assertive animals in the farm setting…

Zoe can be reliably counted on to be a pain in the ass in most scenes, to be honest. I think she cheers up at one point, but it’s very brief. Poppy wins them over (the solution is to buy them things- mainly Halloween decorations. That’s your fill of Halloween, now sit down.) but Zoe’s still saying nonsense lines like “drape those [streamers] like icing on a cake”. Eh?

I don’t have much to say about Zach, he is a very bland child.

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Here’s the cast of October Kiss, happily not interacting with the Halloween concept.

You can learn some excellent lessons about nannying in this film, mainly that it’s okay to do the following:

  • Tell children terrifying stories right before bed
  • Insult your boss
  • Flirt with your boss
  • Dress children up in suits to guilt their hard-working single dad with a “parent appraisal meeting” (I can’t believe how heartless this scene is, but Poppy’s just grinning away like correct well done me excellent nannying)
  • Dress up a child like his greatest fear (sadly not a goat, Zach is also scared of spiders)

Rest assured, they’re all a happy family unit at the end because Poppy’s so great and has no flaws. Except that fear of commitment I mentioned- don’t worry, her sister sets her straight with the pep talk: “you always run away with things get good”. I’ll take her word for it, the only things I’ve seen Poppy run away from are those two jobs she was terrible at.

October Kiss is quite the romp for bad film fans. I particularly enjoyed the fact that Ryan still fits his Halloween costume from high school- what, you couldn’t fork out on buying new tinfoil? Halloween’s clearly the background dressing to rope in viewers but Hallmark doesn’t mind. They’ll be peddling cookie cutter rom-coms like this for years.

Spoopy Rating: 2/3 fun but no real spoops (probably due to goat taking over everything)

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