Welcome to Horror Korner exiles and kiddies! (insert the Crypt Keeper’s laugh) Hosted by your friendly horror fanatic fiend Vincent Kane, where I will review horror films from the classics to the modern scares, as well as the schlocky cheese and gore thrown in with everything in between. I hope you enjoy the review and will check out the movie if you haven’t already or even if it’s been a while since your last viewing. If you would like to recommend a horror film for me to review, please do so down in the comments. Enjoy!
This time on Horror Korner-
Hell Fest (2018)
“Fun Going In. Hell Getting Out.”
Hell Fest, directed by Gregory Plotkin (Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension), is a well-paced and fun low budget slasher flick that was a perfect way to kick off this Halloween season. It’s the type of popcorn flick that you can go and see with friends to laugh with, to squirm with and collectively yell at the characters on the screen. The plot is simple enough as we have a group of college buddies that head off to the titular haunted theme park to reconnect, have some fun, get drunk, and of course get terrified. However, after hearing the rumors of a previous murder at a similar theme park where the killer left the body hung like a prop for three days before any noticed a smell, the group begins to get some real-life scares that is worth more than the price of admission. (Insert Vincent Price laugh)
One of the best things Hell Fest has going for it is the relatable and like able cast of young adults that you can get behind and want to see survive this night of hell. Their chemistry really helps you get the feel that these guys are all friends, which helps you sympathize with them as the terror begins. First off, I need to give a shout out to one my new favorite horror ladies in Bex Taylor-Klaus (Scream: The TV Series) as Taylor. She is fun and cute as button as the typical sassy somewhat bad girl that everyone ends up loving. The main girl, Natalie, who hasn’t been around to hang with bestie Brooke, but has given into a night away from studying and work to just have some much-needed fun. Brooke has her man, Quinn, and Taylor has her man, Asher, so of course we must make sure the somewhat uptight girl gets hooked up with her man Gavin, who got them VIP passes, that she flirted with all summer. So cute. I really enjoyed the cast. All of them were likable and fun with time to get enough personality across that you could care for each one even if a little bit.
I love me some haunted houses and will attend a couple this October myself, so once the group arrives at Hell Fest, this seems like hell of a good time and a place I would love to visit. Yes, there are jump scares, but it’s set at a haunted house, so they don’t seem as cheap as normal and are used effectively with solid use of atmosphere, slow building and other creepy features that will give you chills between those jump scares. For example, the creepy burlap kids that slowly walks up to the group to take their hands and lead them to the next maze. The costumes and the sets are extremely well done, and the care taken with these needs to be appreciated. The color, the lights, the sound are all use effectively to make you feel like you are on this journey with the group.
The use of the killer is well done to a point. He simply enters the park as a normal patron and then dons a mask much like the paid “actors” of the park that, as part of their job, goes around terrifying the customers. He wears freaky enough mask and does the usual standing and heavy breathing act that we have seen before but there was one little trait that was added to his character that I thought was a nice touch. However, it wasn’t utilized enough for my liking.
There are two great kills and I mean old school 70’s and 80’s style practical effect kills that I just love. One particular kill that can even make the toughest horror nut squirm a little bit. Ultimately what was the most disappointing aspect of the film was the lack of fun kills. It couldn’t make up its mind to either utilize the park more for fun kills or just be a generic slasher, so it went 50/50 which was a letdown. Some of the kills did not simply have the impact needed to drive home the slasher part of well the slasher film. I found the ending of the film satisfying that helps the horror of all the previous events reach another level.
Hell Fest is nothing revolutionary when it comes to the slasher genre but is just the right amount of popcorn fun to kickoff Halloween season for those of you looking for a good time at your local theater this October. Some great kills, some fun laughs and a solid group of characters who you can root for makes this a recommended watch.
My rating- 3.5/5