2013’s All Hallows’ Eve wasn’t a particularly strong film. Sure, it gave us Art the Clown – which I believe anyone would agree is terrifying, but it failed to deliver as an anthology film. From what I understand, that’s because it was never intended to be one. The original writer/director of that film has since set out to create TERRIFIER (the film he wanted to create all along), and neither he or Art the Clown are anywhere to be found in the sequel. For fans of the original, that may be a turn off. But let me assure you, All Hallows’ Eve 2 is the superior anthology film… by a long shot.

That’s because it has a bit of an unfair advantage. You see, AHE2 is a showcase of existing short films that were fairly high in quality to begin with. I had seen a couple previously, and there’s a slight chance that you have as well if you’re on the up and up in regards to horror shorts. I imagine the majority of these will be fresh to most of you though. You’ll see 8 separate tales of the macabre ranging from tolerable to exceptional. Standouts include JACK ATTACK, DESCENT, and A BOY’S LIFE. I found myself surprised at how well DESCENT was able to pull off the early 2000s thriller vibe. The cell phones, lighting, musical composition – everything – was spot on. Then upon further inspection I learned that this particular short was filmed in 2004. So yeah, some of these have been sitting around for a while. That doesn’t make them bad though. If anything, it gives us a broader range in the multiple types of horror that we’ve seen in the past decade or so.

That said, All Hallows’ Eve 2 finds itself running low on one ingredient in particular – gore. Aside from the opening and closing segments, there’s not much of the red stuff to be seen. If you’re looking for something to satisfy your blood thirst – you might want to look elsewhere. That shouldn’t be a deal breaker for enthusiasts of the Halloween holiday though. There are some solid ideas at play here and some others that leave you reminding yourself that it’s only a short film – and it can’t possibly last that much longer. Luckily, those are few and far between.

There may not be a creepy clown acting as the glue between these assorted fright flicks (or anything else, really), but that’s okay. All Hallows’ Eve has officially positioned itself as a franchise that can go around buying up independent short films each and every year if they so choose, and I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. People like anthology films, and now that the team behind AHE have developed a pretty fool-proof formula, perhaps they can focus on acquiring newer and more frightening shorts in years to come. I’ll certainly be looking out for All Hallows’ Eve 3.

All Hallows’ Eve 2 is available on DVD and Digital Download on February 2nd.