My History With the Film:
Hell Fest was not a movie on my radar. I had no idea when it was coming out and if it wasn’t for the cool 80’s style trailer they released last week, I probably would have never seen it. But this past Saturday I found myself needing to get out of the house and so I made a trek down to the Alamo Drafthouse and saw Hell Fest.
I only watched the first minute of the 80’s style trailer, so I really didn’t know much about the film other than it was a slasher set in a theme park/haunted attraction and the always great Bex Taylor-Klaus. I went in with no expectations and walked out thoroughly entertained.
What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
A young woman is stalked by a killer who masks his kills within a horror theme park.
What I Liked About It:
-The set design is stunning. There are so many cool things you can do with a theme park/haunted attraction and director Gregory Plotkin took advantage of it. His blocking of scenes was on point and he cleverly used jump scares in a realistic and suitable fashion.
-I liked the cast. They weren’t the most creative or memorable characters, but they were all a lot of fun. They seemed like a fun group of friends who you’d like to join on a trip to Hell Fest. I wouldn’t say any one particular stood out, but Bex Taylor-Klaus was awesome as always and lead character Natalie (Amy Forsyth) was good in her role.
-Hell Fest doesn’t try to be unique. It doesn’t go out of its way for social commentary nor does it try to redefine the slasher genre. Instead, it’s a simple slasher film and that’s something we don’t get enough of in 2018.
-The killer was memorable and I’d love to see a franchise based around him. The end scene did an incredible job of setting up future films but the film wasn’t a massive hit so I don’t know if we’ll ever see a sequel.
What I Didn’t Like About It:
-The kill count was a little low considering how many potential victims could be taken down in a horror theme park. Then again, I believe the plot was setting up a sophisticated and meticulous killer, so I kinda understand why he was centered in picking his kills.
-The deaths were not well spread out. It was a huge cat and mouse game that finished a little too quickly at the end for me.
-There is one shoddy CGI scene early on in the film that looks like it’s straight out of a Wii game. It was used to show the scale of the park, but you can easily tell the people are not real people, but badly animated characters.
-The mask was designed by Tony Gardner’s Atlernian Inc.
-The film is set up to easily be a new franchise, but its opening weekend was a mere $5 million. Granted, the budget wasn’t much more (5.5 million), but I don’t think this was the hit CBS Films was looking for.
Hellfest isn’t going to go down in history as a forgotten classic, but its an enjoyable slasher film and worth your time if you are fan of the genre. There is nothing new to see here, but let’s be honest, we don’t get too many new slashers each year. I’d rate Hellfest a three out of five and say its a rental for slasher fans and a skip for others.