Hello, my name is Heather and I'm a horrorholic. Specifically a slasher stan. I've been watching horror movies since I was a single digit year old and slashers are my favorite sub-genre of not only horror but any movies period. There's something very formulaic and familiar about them and they bring me inner peace. So with that said, I will be reviewing this movie from a slasher standpoint - if that makes sense to anyone at all.
For those who don't know Hell Fest
is a 2018 American slasher film directed by Gregory Plotkin. The film stars Amy Forsyth, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Reign Edwards and Tony Todd, and follows a group of teens who are stalked by a serial killer while visiting a traveling Halloween carnival.
This review is spoiler-free!
Right away the movie starts off with a tense scene of a group of girls going through a haunted maze. Within the first 5 minutes we see a kill so this is already off to a great start. The next scene we meet our heroine Natalie (Amy Forsyth) and her best friend Brooke (Reign Edwards). Brooke's new roommate is Taylor (Bex Taylor-Klaus) who seems to have some kind of history with Natalie, but it's never explained. They then talk about going to Hell Fest, with Natalie being a little hesitant but ultimately caving in.
At Hell Fest, the group checks in with Gavin, who is a tagalong sort of fill in "boyfriend" for Natalie so she's not left alone. The two quickly hit it off and proceed through the fest. Then we see a man slowly entering the park shortly after them, never seeing his face. Once he gets in the park, he puts on a mask and the fun begins. A young girl bumps into him and taunts him while he stands there and after she walks away, he follows.
The group of friends (there are now 6 btw, 3 girls and 3 guys) are going through various houses and mazes. The girls are in a "deformed school" when a girl comes running in yelling someone is after her and then hides. The man from earlier comes in after her and the 3 friends all think it's part of Hell Fest. Things start to get a little too real for the girls and they bail. Once outside, Natalie turns around to see the man a few yards away staring at her.
Then the film starts to get really exciting. The friends continue to go through amazingly detailed mazes that make you wonder if the actors got paid anything because the budget was only 5.5 million. Masked man continues to follow the group and terrorize them when (of course) they get split up and the slashing begins.
There have been amusement park horror movies before, but I have never seen one that utilizes the setting as much as this one does. There is a never-ending amount of surprises around every corner, all the costumes are different and each set piece is well thought-out and creepy in their own right. Of course being in this setting allows for an excessive use of jump scares and it's excusable.
The characters are all very likeable people, there's no complex history that interferes with the slashing and they all seem to get along well. The actors do their job amazingly and convince us when they're having fun or being terrorized. There's no sex, nudity or drugs (shocking for a slasher but great for me!). This is just a straight-up slasher movie that makes no apologizes for its relentlessness.
It's perfectly tense, the music done by Bear McCreary also fits the scenes well and an effective amount of slow-mo is used without making it cheesy. The gore is also about a 3/5, I could have used more (but I'm a gore freak) but with some particular death scenes it is sufficiently used. Speaking of the kills, there are some creative and brutal ones but not all are so over the top that it becomes unrealistic that this masked man is a supervillain of sorts. One in particular made me cringe (you'll know it when you see it), and I always love inventive kills in slashers.
Overall, I tremendously enjoyed this movie and as a hardcore slasher fan, this beyond exceeded my expectations and hope for it being a no-apologies slasher. 20/10, highly
recommend! And if you're a slasher fan, there's no excuse for not seeing this gem and instant classic!