Hell Fest (2018)
Critic Consensus: Hell Fest might give less demanding horror fans a few decent reasons to scream, but it's neither clever nor frightening enough to leave much of an impression.
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Critic Reviews for Hell Fest
Plotkin's relentless button-pushing, coupled to the script's cringe-inducing yooftalk, instead mark Hell Fest as unmistakably the work of middle-aged execs trying to jab suggestible teenagers back into cinemas.
They did this 40 years ago, and better, in 'Halloween.' It's getting really, really tired.
It delivers the tedious, heavy-breathing buildup associated with the genre, but skimps on the scares and the gory, gooey good stuff.
If it were any good, it could have been the movie of the moment. Instead, it'll have been forgotten by Halloween.
You've seen it all before, and better: A blade to the chest, an axe to the leg, a syringe to the eye.
Audience Reviews for Hell Fest
A standard slasher movie through-and-through. Are you a fan of the genre? Then you'll have fun. Not a fan? Why are you even here? Aside from a pretty eerie reveal with the killer that could be seen as psychological commentary, there's not much new here. Yes, there's the haunted house set up, but we've seen that before. To be fair, Hell Fest really does go all out with this set up though, so even when the kills aren't happening there is still some fun just in seeing the haunted house walkthroughs. I'm someone who will watch YouTube walkthroughs of people at Halloween events, so I'm totally into that sort of thing and it actually kept me interested. The slasher stuff worked for me too. For one, it's rated R! None of the kills are on the level of Saw or Hatchet, but they're R-rated kills for sure. Bottom line, the movies just fun. I love slasher movies, and this was a fun one. There's a certain joy to it the same way there is in going to these Halloween mazes. You know the scares and you know the gimmicks, but it's fun going through and spotting them and seeing it all play out.
I've seen a similar sort of thing done where it was the carnival-folk themselves who were murderers, and I have seen that thing done, a lot. So it was quite a nice surprise to see it just be a single dude who rocks up to somebody else's Halloween Horror Nights-type deal and start wreckin' the place. From the outset I thought I was going to hate all the character's interactions, and don't get me wrong, these kids won't be taking home Oscars any time soon, but I did actually find myself quite taken with them before the end.
I'm honestly not a huge fan of the horror genre, so take this review with a grain of salt if you're someone who loves that particular genre, but I will always recognize and sometimes love one that deserves it. While Hell Fest isn't something I walked out of the theatre raving about, it serves as a fine film to watch throughout the course of this Halloween season. The most frustrating thing about this film is that it had the potential to be so much more than what it turned out to be. Based on the premise alone, this movie is fantastic, but I don't believe many people will feel that way about the movie as a whole. Here's why, even though I had a good time watching Hell Fest, it's not a must-see. Hell Fest follows a group of teenagers who venture into the biggest theme park in town on Halloween night. Hoping for a night of fun and terror, what they don't realize is that a killer has disguised himself as an employee of one of the haunted houses and decides to stalk this group around the park in hopes of killing them all. The premise alone of this film is very creepy and gave me chills when comparing it to reality and whether or not someone could actually pull something like this off. In that regard, it's absolutely terrifying. That being said, this movie, although enjoyable, is very far from being terrifying. The biggest detriment this movie has is the fact that the entire movie revolves around haunted houses that our main characters go through, which makes for some fantastic set pieces and visual style, but you can't help but wish it was you in the haunted houses getting scared. This specific feeling came across my mind on multiple occasions while watching this movie. It was the same feeling I have when watching most movies based on a video game. I would just rather be playing the game myself. Where the movie excels, though, is making you never want to attend an event like this ever again. This is a film that tries very hard to scare audiences into never wanting to go to a haunted house again and with the way this film cleverly sets up certain sequences, it makes it seem possible, which was bone-chilling. Speaking of chilling, the final moment of this film alone was worth the wait if you're a fan of images that make your skin crawl. Personally, the final shot of this film disgusted me, but in terms of horror movies, that was a good thing. Hell Fest was made to give horror fans what they want from a slasher film during this time of year. If you go into this film hoping for something deeper than a movie like Texas Chainsaw Massacre or even the best parts of The Final Destination franchise, then I think you'll be disappointed. This is about a killer who disguises himself in a theme park and murders people. There's really not much more to it, due to the fact that the characters in this film are not very memorable, so you'll find yourself sitting back and enjoying a fictional killing spree. Overall, I seem to have a lot of negative things to say about this film, but I truly just wanted to get a little horror/slasher film kick at the movies, and Hell Fest delivered that for me. It's daily devoid of character development and it's about as by-the-numbers as slasher films get, but the setting, the sense of terror, and the overall scope of the movie was quite a fun viewing experience. If you can sit back and just enjoy a mediocre horror flick with a promising concept, then you may find something to like about Hell Fest. For myself, it's a fine slasher flick if you've already seen the great ones.
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