By Eric Trigg
A film by the director of the lackluster Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, how bad could it be?
Slashers were a major part of the horror genre in the 80’s some famous icons from the genre include Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, Freddy Kruger, and Michael Myers. Hell Fest is a 2018 slasher film that tries to make the slasher genre relevant again, and honestly it could have waited for the release of David Gordon Green’s Halloween to take some notes.
Directed by Gregory Plotkin, Hell Fest stars Bex Taylor-Klaus (MTV’s Scream), Amy Forsyth, Christian James, Reign Edwards, and special appearance from Tony Todd (Candyman). The film focuses on a group of young adults who travel to an amusement park after receiving V.I.P tickets from a friend.
While there they are stalked by a masked killer who turns Hell Fest into their own hunting grounds. Hell Fest offers a very attractive, and realistic set design that will make the viewer want to go experience the theme park.
However, from there the film lacks in proper character development, weak performances, and lack of originality. Natalie (Amy Forsyth), is the final girl for the 89-minute run time and while she gives a solid performance everyone else around her is average at best. Amy Forsyth does fine in her role but don’t expect her to live up to the legacy of a Nancy Thompson or Sidney Prescott.
Natalie reunites with her best friend, Brooke (Reign Edwards) and it becomes clear that for some unexplained reason they had a fall out but its never expanded on. The outfit for the killer is rather intimidating, and a solid slasher costume but nothing to impressive.
If you are a fan of slashers most of the kills will not come off as fresh but they are still fun to watch. Hell Fest is not a complete flop but it is just another simple, generic slasher film. The interior designs of the haunted houses are covered with different hues of neon lights that help bring the audience into the world of the characters.
During my view of the film I found it rather frustrating how our group of main characters were the only ones with V.I.P passes at the theme park because it’s established earlier in the film that the amusement park was very popular.
Hell Fest strongest points lie in the cinematography, set design, direction, and average performances. The killer who is named “The Other” shares traits with Michael Myers, and Jason Voorhees as they walk among their victims in silence.
While no motive is given we find that the killer gets off on those who don’t initially fear their presence. Fans of the slasher genre will enjoy this film for what it is but don’t go into it expecting much in return.
Hell Fest is not an instant classic but it is worth a watch.