October 3, 2018

Hell Fest Review

Bex Taylor-Klaus, Amy Forsyth, Reign Edwards and some guy.

Horror movies like Hell Fest are a dime a dozen on Netflix. How most crap gets relegated there and a movie like this escapes for a theatrical release escapes me. Still, it is October, and no time of year is more appropriately seasonal for watching low-rent horror in a movie theater, preferably with a full house. 

You are unlikely to find too many crowded theaters in which to watch Hell Fest, unless you bring your own crowd. If you and your friends decide to take a chance on it, you will be horrifically surprised to find a competent throwback to the halcyon days when ’80s slashers sliced and diced teens on a seemingly weekly basis. Hell Fest’s setting may be its only original offering; horror mazes like Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios are all the rage. 

A group of potential victims visits the traveling Hell Fest and runs afoul of a masked killer who has done this before. Thanks to above-average dialogue delivered by a more competent crew than usual, Hell Fest delivers no-chills kills with more energy than the detritus clogging many an October Netflix queue. The movie strings enough together between kills to remain slightly interesting. Though MTV’s “Scream” alum Bex Taylor-Klaus is the only familiar victim, the BFFs played by Amy Forsyth and Reign Edwards stay on the plus column of the how-much-do-I-want-them-to-die equation. Most modern slashers forget how much more impactful the deaths can be when the characters do not actually deserve a knife to the gut. 

Hell Fest could have benefited from a few more creative kills; any self-respecting slasher knows he is scored as much for inventive use of his surroundings as he is for brutality. Considering Hell Fest’s killer could not even bring his own deadly implement, you would think he would be more inclined to wing his deadliness. Sure, Hell Fest is a routine collection of scareless kills, but jettisoning any sort of killer backstory effectively streamlines the sinister revelry. Music by Bear McCreary makes a nice bonus for showing up.