The 318th review!
OK, I just need to get through today and then it's vacation all I ever wanted! So if we could hold off shooting, stabbing, arson or any other type of breaking news tonight, I'd greatly appreciate it, k thx! With my last day of work before I have the next two weeks off, I checked out...
Hell Fest (2018)
So a group of friends are going to an extreme haunt called "Hell Fest." It's like Cedar Point's Halloweekend fright zones but spanning the entirety of the massive area. Yes, it's more based off of Six Flags, but here in Ohio, Cedar Point is king and the measuring stick for how all amusement parks are judged or compared, sorry but those are the rules of the midwest. Through no fault of their own they attract the attention of a serial killer who blends in with the scarers and continues to stalk and pick them off one by one as they get deeper and deeper in the park. The movie has similar themes to The Houses October Built and the awesome Haunt. I liked it more than Houses but it pales in comparison to Haunt. The above paragraph is pretty much all you need to know about the movie, it's a very interesting premise. A group goes to an event and runs into something that wants to kill them but it takes awhile to realize what's real and what's part of the game. It reminds me of a book I started back in 2012. Oh yeah, I remember! Camping with the Dead and it is available now on Amazon! You can buy it here! https://www.amazon.com/Camping-Dead-M-R-Pat/dp/B098WHMVXF/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= Anyways, shameless plug out of the way, there are some things I liked. The group dynamic is fun, especially the sort of date their friends set up between Gavin and Natalie. The director encouraged the cast to adlib as much as possible and it really shines for that reason when Gavin and Natalie are alone. Throughout the entire movie their friends subtly, and not so subtly try to push them together. They both understand the other is intrigued, but their conversations felt real and silly. The awkward jokes, the goofy flirting, it actually felt like these two were in their initial courting phase and the conversations made me feel awkward for them. It was cute and reminded me of how awkward I used to be. It was fun watching them build their connection and when they finally kissed, I was actually happy for them. It was kind of adorable.
But this is a horror movie, soooo, ya know. Hell Fest doesn't really do anything you haven't seen before. The baddie, known as "The Other" is pretty creepy. He's mainly standing in the distance covered in fog or crazy lighting so he's effectively creepy. He doesn't speak, although he hums "Pop Goes the Weasel" before he kills you. The movie doesn't give you any motivation and you never see his actual face either. I liked that, he's a blank canvas and an unknowable evil. At the very end you learn a tiny bit about him and it kinda works perfectly. He's what Michael Myers was until Rob Zombie's backstory threw every redneck cliche at it. Some people are just evil, you don't need more than that sometimes. Plus, the actual Hell Fest event seems like it would be AWESOME! Who wouldn't want to go to a park narrated by Tony Todd??
Things I liked aside, The Other annoyed the hell out of me. If they gave him magical powers it would make more sense, but somehow he always knew where they were 100% of the time. At one point he must have been hiding in the women's bathroom on the off chance Natalie would come in there. When they'd go in a maze he'd always be waiting for them in the exact right spot for a jump scare. If someone got separated, he knew which one and where they were going. The dude doesn't work there, how does he know the layout, the secret entrances and routes?
Another thing that's silly; at the end, he murders two people in front of a crowd, so everyone panics and the festivities end and they're told to go to the nearest exit. The Other is able to elude security because he's dressed like a lot of the haunters. As Natalie and Brooke are running, they come across what is clearly the entrance to a haunted house and one of them says, "This must be the exit!" Only to be shocked they wandered into "Hell," the scariest haunted house in the park. What?
This movie also does my most hated horror trope. It literally makes me angry when this happens. It's when the heroes down the villain and instead of finishing them off, or keeping them down, they run off. The first time it happened, I rolled my eyes, the second time I wanted to close my laptop. It was such a cool moment how Natalie got the drop on him and managed to stab him. But it gets completely ruined when she DROPS THE KNIFE AND RUNS AWAY! Ugh! I hate that! You have the killer dead to rights and you just leave?! After reading more about the movie, I understand why but it's still annoying. There was supposed to be a sequel and a prequel but I don't see that happening. One, because critics weren't a fan and there's only so much you can do with that particular premise before you just start running it back. I really don't see how this could be stretched into three movies. For the record the superior Haunt had a PERFECT ending.
It's solid, but not much else. The characters seem like they'd be fun to pal around with and it's entertaining seeing them interact with each other in the group setting. You root for them but then you roll your eyes when, for one reason or another, the film finds a way to split them up because the movie needs them to. The killer is one thing, but the real antagonist is the plot monster, it practically served these people up on a platter.
5 Dr. Chainsaws!
2018 | R | 1h 28m | Horror Movies
A serial killer picks off a group of friends, one by one, as they make their way through a hell-themed amusement park.
Cast: Amy ForsythReign EdwardsBex Taylor-KlausTony ToddChristian JamesMatt MercurioMichael TourekCourtney Dietz