We’ve all heard about the classic boogeyman or the occasional phrase, “There’s a monster under my bed,” which we now often turn a deaf ear towards and deem as part of a poor child’s imagination. But what if there is something prowling in the dead of night? It overlooks your home and town, but all your efforts to convince everyone of its dangers are left ignored. Hubie Dubois encounters this obstacle in Netflix’s “Hubie Halloween,” a fun-filled comedy that showcases Dubois attempting to keep his town safe from an unbelievable, impending doom.
“Hubie Halloween” follows the town’s most disliked resident, Hubie Dubois (Adam Sandler), who is incessantly ridiculed. Hubie is a middle-aged man who still lives with his mother, Mrs. Dubois (June Squibb), but is a generous town volunteer concerned about everyone’s safety. On Halloween, strange occurrences stir in Salem, Massachusetts as several of the town inhabitants wind up missing. The safety of the town falls onto Hubie’s shoulders as it is up to him to solve this mystery and safeguard Salem.
“Hubie Halloween” stirs excitement in the audience as they are anxious to uncover who is responsible for the disappearances. There are multiple suspects ranging from an escaped inmate and Hubie’s new neighbor who embodies suspicious, non human-like qualities. The film is very immersive and fun to watch as the audience is on the edge of their seats to discover who it is. The audience may think that they know exactly what is behind the disappearances, but an unexpected twist makes the film all the more enjoyable.
Moreover, the predominant slapstick comedy in the film appeals to the audience. Throughout the film, Hubie has random objects like a television and flaming arrow thrown at him. A montage is also shown of Mike Mundi (Karan Brar) scaring Hubie at work with props. There are a few gross scenes and dry humor, such as his mother’s T-shirts with funny sayings that Mrs. Dubois doesn’t comprehend and they are a constant source of conversation. They slightly ruin the humor but do well in capturing the silly aura of the film.
The acting in the film is performed exceptionally well by each of the actors. Sandler utilizes a funny, slightly annoying voice that solidifies his character as the town’s outcast and presents him as a kind-hearted individual. He always has a versatile thermos on hand which transforms into a grappling hook, umbrella and a vacuum, among multiple other uses. The thermos provides a uniqueness to Hubie’s character and serves to capture how he adapts to changing events around him, regardless of how difficult they may seem. Hubie scares easily at the most trivial events, which is a constant source of entertainment for those who torment him. The film also contains former Disney Channel actors that give it a more wholesome feeling with cameos from Peyton List and China Anne McClain. Moreover, Tommy Valentine (Noah Snapp) possesses a kind demeanor and stands as a foil character to Mundi, who takes Hubie’s friendliness for granted and bullies Tommy. In addition, the comedic nature delivered by Lester Hennesey (Tim Meadows) and Mr. Landolfa (Ray Liotta) provides a good laugh and portrays the film as a goofy, cheerful watch. Most of the actors in the film are either related through blood or because of their previous work experiences with Sandler which helps build the fun-filled ambience and a sense of familiarity in the town.
In terms of design and cinematography, the scenes are beautifully crafted to align with the fall spirit. The light color scheme utilized during the day with orange and yellow hues works to display coziness, contrasted with the lightning and dark tones when disappearances occur. The setting of Salem, Massachusetts was also well suited for the spooky season, as it calls back to the Salem Witch Trials. The camera angles follow Hubie running from threats as Aurora (Shaquille O’ Neil), a radio DJ, narrates the evil occuring in Salem. In one scene, the camera shot is at eye level when Mr. Landolfa is speaking to someone, which makes the audience feel as though the character is speaking directly to them. The camera angles were spectacular in framing and scaling scenes to display the size of certain objects. For example, in one scene the camera rapidly zones out to provide a bird’s eye view of the grandeur of a corn maze when Hubie stands alone, distraught after another disappearance. Furthermore, the soundtrack encompasses a multitude of Halloween songs, such as “Monster Mash” and “Happy Halloween,” classics that parallel an unknown danger in the town and thrill of the holiday.
The humor and excellent performances by all the characters eventually give rise to the theme. Sandler’s ability to portray Hubie as a kind person in the midst of derision from others stirs pity in the audience. The actors that play bullies also capture how poorly Hubie is treated for being himself. Despite being lambasted and ridiculed by everyone, Hubie remains, in the words of Mrs. Dubois, “helpful,” “courteous,” “cheerful” and “considerate” as he doesn’t alter his values to please others. The audience sympathizes for the manner Hubie is treated and appreciates his generous caliber. The message is cheesy, yet simple: Be true to yourself.
With little flaws in humor, “Hubie Hallowen” keeps its audience invested in unraveling the mystery plaguing Salem. The cinematography and soundtrack appeals to the audience as it captures the Halloween ambience. Moreover, the film is complimented with excellent performances by all of its cast members.
Verdict: “Hubie Halloween” is a feel-good comedy film that has an excellent mix of humor, excitement and mystery. It provides a tender message and is a fun watch for all ages.