Hell Fest – USA, 2018

‘Fun going in. Hell getting out.’

Hell Fest is a 2018 American horror feature film directed by Gregory Plotkin (Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension; editor of Get Out and Happy Death Day; et al) from a screenplay by Seth M. Sherwood (Leatherface), Gary Dauberman (The Nun; IT; Annabelle) and Blair Butler. It was produced by Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead; AliensThe Terminator).

The Valhalla Motion Pictures production stars Amy Forsyth (Channel Zero), Reign Edwards, Bex Taylor-Klaus (Scream), Christian James, Roby Attal, Matt Mercurio (Sleepy Hollow), and genre icon Tony Todd (West of Hell; Final DestinationCandyman; et al).

College student Natalie (Amy Forsyth) is visiting her childhood best friend Brooke (Reign Edwards) and her roommate Taylor (Bex Taylor-Klaus). If it was any other time of year these three and their boyfriends might be heading to a concert or bar, but it is Halloween which means that like everyone else they will be bound for Hell Fest – a sprawling labyrinth of rides, games, and mazes that travels the country and happens to be in town. Every year thousands follow Hell Fest to experience fear at the ghoulish carnival of nightmares.

But for one visitor, Hell Fest is not the attraction – it is a hunting ground. An opportunity to slay in plain view of a gawking audience, too caught up in the terrifyingly fun atmosphere to recognise the horrific reality playing out before their eyes. As the body count and frenzied excitement of the crowds continues to rise, he turns his masked face to Natalie, Brooke, Taylor, and their boyfriends who will fight to survive the night.

Hell Fest is released in American movie houses by CBS Films and Lionsgate on September 28, 2018.

Reviews:

“Because there are no complicated subplots or confusing tangents, because the movie revels in the devilish details of its main Hell Fest attractions first and foremost, we stay inside the park the whole time in a very focused and straight-forward manner. This allows Plotkin to get away with the one-note plotline…” Jake Dee, Arrow in the Head

“The set design is off the charts and features a massive array of unique, colorful, and scary mazes that look as authentic as the one in your town […] The biggest struggle for Hell Fest is the fine line between being fun and violent, which ends up being a constant pull back and forth, just barely keeping its balance.” Brad Miska, Bloody Disgusting

Hell Fest is really good at using the old horror tricks and twists, you know and love. And all the “dumb” tropes are here as well. The masked killer will walk when everyone else is running. But he still catches up to them. However, it was a pleasant surprise that some old tropes were flipped.” Karina Adelgaard, Heaven of Horror

Hell Fest has exactly one genuinely nail-biting scene…. Otherwise, the movie does little to update, subvert, or comment on the trappings of classic thrillers like The Funhouse and Halloween.” Los Angeles Times

“The killings aren’t particularly gripping, there’s little suspense in the earliest ones and the menace is pretty watered down for much of the movie. There are two pretty tight sequences though — one involves a guillotine and an MC played by horror legend Tony Todd (“Candyman”). The other doesn’t.”Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“While the film takes the kids on an operatic journey, with each horror maze more intense than the last, leading up to an intense crescendo of sorts, it lacks a heroic moment. You expect the lead (Amy Forsyth) to be scared and vulnerable, to go through an ordeal, and be awakened as a kick-ass bitch that fights back. However, the film never gets there.” Nerd Bastards

“The scares of “Hell Fest” never leave a mark, and it’s gore-lite in a weird way that makes it seem like a self-serious light-R that forgot to have fun (the relatively tame language and selective gore makes one think it used to have PG-13 aspirations). But the concept has so much potential, it’s a bummer it plays out so mechanically.” Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

Hell Fest is moderately gory, yet its best deaths (while not particularly memorable) are in the middle, with the climactic Final Girl(s) action a bit flat. When the film should be at its most pulse-pounding, it’s already past its mild peak of tension.” Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Plotkin directed what most consider the worst Paranormal Activity movie Ghost Dimension. His second feature is written by a team of writers in a highly uninspired script. It’s not that Hell Fest is bad, it’s a typical slasher that horror fans will mostly enjoy. We’ve just seen so many versions of it before. Many of which are better.” Without Your Head

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Categories: 2018, Halloween

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