Movie Review: Hubie Halloween

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Courtesy of Newsweek

Adam Sandler stars in his new film “Hubie Halloween” on Netflix.

Sharon Sun, Photojournalist

Halloween is approaching fast, and communities see more illumination as light-up ghosts and pumpkins, radiating white and orange light on doorsteps and porches, spread the spirit of the spooky season. Adam Sandler, the prominent American comedian who starred in the critically acclaimed film Uncut Gems, also endeavored to participate in the recent Halloween hype, producing the hot Netflix original Hubie Halloween.

Sandler’s new movie is dedicated to the memory of Cameron Boyce, an actor Sandler had worked with previously who died at the age of twenty years old to an epileptic seizure. Boyce, who was originally scheduled to appear as one of Hubie’s bullies, has a tribute written to him after the bloopers sequence at the end of the movie.

Sandler’s PG-13 horror comedy stars himself as the main character, Hubert “Hubie” Dubois, a kind, lovable, goofy, and yet childish adult deli worker living in Salem, Massachusetts. Hubie loves nothing more than to share his love for Halloween with his community, but is shunned as a “loser” and bullied incessantly by nearly everyone around him, except his mother, his childhood crush, Violet Valentine, and his new neighbor, an old man named Walter Lambert. Despite the resentment from all of his community, Hubie tirelessly works to make Halloween, Salem’s favorite holiday, safe and enjoyable for everyone.

The film opens with the nighttime escape of an unknown prisoner from the mental hospital, who is presumed to have returned to his hometown of Salem, where the police set out to find him. The film cuts to the next day where Hubie, fitted with his signature Halloween-themed orange bike helmet, rides to the deli wishing a Happy Halloween to his neighbors, only to be ignored or pelted by kids with eggs on the street.

At the deli, he is again the butt of a cruel prank by a familiar customer and Hubie’s co-worker. As he returns home on his bike, Hubie is ambushed and shoved off his bike by a group of school kids. However, he is treated kindly by Violet Valentine and is greeted warmly by Walter Lambert. Later, his mother, Mrs. Dubois, is introduced as a sweet, kind, and naive old lady whose love for thrift shops leads her to wear (unbeknownst to her) clothing with innuendos.

As Salem wakes up to Halloween day, Hubie slowly begins to have growing suspicions about the strange nature of Walter Lambert. Furthermore, the escaped convict, known as Richard “Ritchie” Hartman, is still on the loose and is revealed to have been friends with Hubie in the past. Despite the dangerous implications, the mayor of Salem is still desperate to keep the Salem Halloween festivals running throughout the night.

Halloween night is finally upon Salem and Hubie dons his “Halloween monitor” sash, patrolling the streets of Salem to ensure that everyone is safe and having fun. Throughout the night, as usual, Hubie continues to be harassed by his neighbors, who, later in the night, begin to disappear, seemingly kidnapped. Despite having received so much abuse from the residents of his neighborhood, Hubie is still determined to rescue his bullies and sets out on an investigative journey to find them.

Though the horror aspect of the movie left a little more to be desired, the film was almost entirely comical, portraying Hubie’s slapstick antics. Sandler’s decision to mesh horror and comedy in Hubie Halloween might have been a bold one, as horror might be considered a polar opposite to the genre of comedy. However, Joyce Lin (11) believes that “humor in a horror film is a good way to distract the audience from the horror element.” Rather, she thinks that it could add a sort of a shock factor. “If horror is inserted right after the humorous part, it would be very effective because the audience would not expect that.”

My favorite scenes, in particular, included Hubie’s mother, who was hilariously innocent of the suggestive phrasing on the cheap shirts she wore. Finally, the icing of the cake had to be the sheer brilliance of Sandler’s comical acting, portraying Hubie flawlessly as the clumsy and goofy character that he was, leading me to believe for nearly the whole film that Hubie’s personality in the film was just an extension of the actor himself. While Hubie Halloween is perhaps not the ideal film for a horror movie night, it fits perfectly into Netflix’s Top Ten Trending as a hilarious Halloween-themed comedy gem.