Hell Fest is a delicious throw-back to the 80s slasher movies. It’s not new and edgy but works as a tribute to a horror niche. Perfect for Halloween!

Hell Fest delivers exactly what you would expect if you’ve watched the trailer. Not really anything more, but certainly not less either! If you don’t like slasher movies and feel the trailer looks stupid, then you probably won’t enjoy this.

If, on the other hand, you like the idea of a slasher movie taking place at a Halloween amusement park? Then all we can say is “Welcome to Hell Fest!” Yes, you should really enjoy this.

The entire movie – with the exception of a brief intro and outro – takes place at an amusement park. Or rather, a horror-themed Halloween event, where several haunted houses and horror mazes make up the park. It’s pretty brilliant!

By horror fans for horror fans

There’s absolutely no doubt that Hell Fest was made to entertain horror fans. In fact, two of the six main characters are hardcore fans of all things horror. They’re having the time of their lives and enjoy Halloween as others enjoy Christmas.

Actually, I think many horror fans love these two at least equally – or Halloween most!

Also, I really loved the fact that the horror-loving couple in this movie enjoyed getting scared. In that sense, it truly was the joy of horror that came across.

None of this “I never get scared by anything” while also stating that they love horror because of the adrenalin kick. No, these people love getting scared.

And yes, they also love guessing when something will happen, but that’s probably something most horror fans can relate to. Still, when we get surprised, we love it rather than getting angry because we jumped.

Hell Fest (2018) review

Enjoy the horror tricks and actors, you know

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. Just when you think you know what’ll happen next Hell Fest takes an unexpected turn.

In this story, the killer is simply an average Joe out enjoying his personal “purge night”. Much like we saw in The Open House, there is no special reason. He just kills because he wants to.

And Halloween makes it so damn easy. We’ve seen this plenty of times before, but it still works like a charm.

Hell Fest features several actors from well-known horror productions. There’s Bex Taylor-Klaus from the Scream TV series and Amy Forsyth from A Christmas Horror Story and Channel Zero.

By the way, Amy Forsyth is one of the main characters and she is pretty damn awesome. The kick-ass girl next door, who fights back. Actually, they all do a pretty good job at reacting realistically and (usually) pretty smart.

Finally, we also have Tony Todd of Candyman iconic fame in a small supporting role.

Hell Fest (2018) review

Slasher movie galore

Gregory Plotkin directed Hell Fest and even if you don’t know him by name, you definitely know some of his work. He was the editor on both Get Out and Happy Death Day. Two of the biggest successes of the past couple of years (outside James Wan’s franchises of course).

Basically, Plotkin is used to working both with the classic slasher niche and the more psychological angle. Hell Fest combines these two but is definitely a slasher movie at heart. I did, however, also really enjoy the characters. Their friendship was believable and without stupid drama.

For the killer’s creepy mask, Tony Gardner came on board. He also did the Babyface mask for Happy Death Day and the iconic Ghostface from Scream.

In general, make sure you keep your eyes open for all the iconic horror character walking around in the Hell Fest amusement park. That’s another fun element for fans of slasher movies. And really, if you like slashers, then you shouldn’t miss this one.

Hell Fest opens in US theaters (along with many other countries) on September 28, 2018.

Details

Director: Gregory Plotkin
Cast:  Amy Forsyth, Reign Edwards, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Christian James, Roby Attal, Matt Mercurio, Tony Todd

Plot

A masked serial killer turns a horror themed amusement park into his own personal playground, terrorizing a group of friends while the rest of the patrons believe that it is all part of the show.

College student NATALIE (Forsyth) is visiting her childhood best friend BROOKE (Edwards) and her roommate TAYLOR (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 recognize 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.

Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina

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Review Date
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Hell Fest (2018)
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