If every day your older brother jumped out of the same closet to scare you, you would eventually stop getting scared. Why? Because you know what’s coming. Similarly, since audiences probably know what’s coming with most of Hell Fest’s horror scenes, we just have to ask what – the hell – is the point (pun intended)?
Hell Fest follows a group of friends who head to a travelling horror carnival with mazes, rides, haunted houses, and more, in celebration of Halloween. Little did they know that the horror would become real with a relentless serial killer on the loose.
Other than the whole carnival thing, anything new? Not really.
Hell Fest did have room for potential, with a setting that was impressive in its details, but the filmmakers were not able to take advantage of that. If there were more point of view shots and more focus on the setting, rather than having it as just a prop or backdrop, then the film could have been very different. Instead, it exclusively relies on the serial killer to provide an element of horror. The masked serial killer is just a disfigured version of Halloween’s Michael Myers; from a similar mask and the same killing methods, to the whole appearing out of nowhere, the film’s serial killer was just a poor copycat. The film also gave no insight on how the killer picks his victims, why he kills, or any intriguing aspect about the killer. In other words, no active effort was made to help him stand out to audiences who have seen several killers like him before.
As for the characters, they couldn’t be more cliché. Amy Forsyth, playing Natalie, who the killer specifically stalks, lacked charisma in her performance which was a major let down since she was supposed to be the lead. Playing her best friend, Reign Edwards did attempt to move her character from the cliché pit, which is why she is one of the most memorable characters. Other than that, there is nothing really noteworthy about anyone’s performance.
Horror audiences have seen all that Hell Fest has to offer several times before. The entire film is derived from previous slasher films, without a single new idea in sight, so much so that audiences know what is going to happen next. Moreover, since we live in a day and age when most audiences are aware of the mechanics behind horror films, a film which relies on the same old techniques is going to turn out to be mediocre at best.
There is nothing new here but if you are bored, got money to spare, and want to watch just any horror film, then maybe consider Hell Fest.