My History With the Film:
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 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.