I’m going to be honest; I went into “Hell Fest” curious but not really expecting much. I’m sorry, but horror over the last decade has time and time again disappointed me. Nowhere more so than the slasher genre which is a pale imitation of its former self. Gone are the creative blood-soaked kills and heaps of nudity, replaced with PG-13, tween-friendly romps. It’s enough to make me want to puke.
Turns out I was justified in not expecting much from this flick, as it didn’t bring much to the table. It was formulaic and hollow. That’s unfortunate because buried somewhere in the plastic plot was the seed of a good concept that had it been executed better and with more balls could have been a damn good film. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Tobe Hooper’s under-appreciated gem, “Fun House” which while not a great slasher, still managed to be fun and different. “Hell Fest”, despite its interesting backdrop fails to be anything more than generic.
Bex Taylor-Klaus (Whom you may remember from the forgettable “Scream” TV series.), Reign Edwards, and Amy Forsyth lead the pack of young actors and actually do a decent job. Some character development is given to them, but not a whole hell of a lot. Enough for us to be at least mildly concerned about them…I guess. Taylor-Klaus, despite starting out as the type of character you think you’ll hate actually becomes a tad likable if not a wee bit annoying. She clearly had fun with the role and was really the only character I actually somewhat enjoyed.
The rest of the cast is completely forgettable. Not the actor’s faults though, the script gave them zero life. They were fodder, nothing more. You knew from the moment you met them they were going to die. Just not quick enough.
The actor who plays our slasher, whose name I could not find, doesn’t do anything special. Like the film itself, his performance is generic. A poor man’s Michael Myers. Every time he was on the screen I wished I was watching the new “Halloween” instead.
Tony Todd has a cameo; I think he’s on screen for about 60 seconds. Beyond that, we just hear his voice throughout the park. Clearly, he was here to lend the film credibility, but even he couldn’t class the joint up.
As for kills, which is why we see slashers in the first place: There were two messy scenes, one which surprised me and made me sit up and wrongfully think maybe this flick had balls after all. The rest are boring. Such a wasted opportunity!
Pervs look elsewhere. It’s 2018 so the skin is not on display. Edwards has a nice badonkadonk though.
Look, I know slashers aren’t works of art, but there is some degree of method to the mayhem. Yeah, the film look’s nice with the brightly lit horror amusement park and all the costumed peeps. It’s a fun unique atmosphere, but atmosphere alone does not a good film make. Several choices the characters made dumbfounded me. Peeps make dumb decisions in slashers, but in “Hell fest” they just make no sense. Obviously, the writers were just looking to set shit up and didn’t care how they got there. BTW, Seth M. Sherwood, writer of the recent dud “Leatherface” is co-writer here. Nuff said.
In the end, “Hell Fest” isn’t a terrible film. I didn’t hate it; I just didn’t care about it. In a month I’ll forget it. It’s that kind of film. Maybe if you’re 13-15 years old it’ll better appeal to you as it did the two girls of that age group who sat in front of me and seemed to enjoy the film. These day’s that’s the studios prime demographic so it doesn’t surprise me. Nothing wrong with that, but would it fucking kill them to occasionally give us slashers that appeal more to adults? All you need is some creative bloody kills and a few tits. That asking too much?
If you’re bored and want to kill two hours you could do worse, otherwise, you’re better off not attending this horror attraction. Pop in “Funhouse” instead and thank me later.