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Review Hell Fest (2018): Fails to be scary!

genre: horror, slasher

For some reason, Hell Fest, is pretty ambitious and perhaps a little pretentious. That is fine if you can back it up with real chills and trills. Unfortunately, Hell Fest is incredibly boring!

Don't get me wrong, I think the film could have been real good. And the references to Happy Death Day and other iconic horror films do provide a fun element, provided you recognize them. However, on its own, it fails to be scary. In fact, I got real annoyed by the characters getting scared by any of the attractions part of the amusement park. None of them, let me repeat that, none of them were remotely creepy or scary. You really must have led a sheltered life if any of what these characters are subjected to get you freaked out. Almost every scare is predictable. Even from the real threat. There were almost moments where creepiness did occur. Only without pay off. Then what is the point?

Director Gregory Plotkin is inexperienced and clearly out of his depth to create tension and dread. There are some scenes that had real potential to be super tense. Like, for example, where the ride halts, and it's announced that the ride is experiencing technical difficulty. Instead of making maximum use of the dark ambiance and the predicament, the main character (Natalie, played by Amy Forsyth) is in, the film neglects to instil fear on her. Sure, having the killer just stand there looking at her is creepy. But throughout the film, this killer had been real slow and was really easy (relatively speaking) to escape from. If they had demonstrated that this killer was superfast and efficient, maybe this scene would have worked. It seems like Plotkin was trying to mimic Michael Myers in Halloween, without understanding what makes him terrifying. But even if they failed to show how effective he was, this was the scene where they could have made their point. Instead, they opted for a twist, while clever but didn't lead to anything substantial.

The ending is also a reference to several classic horror films. Here is also where possibly the pretension comes in and completely failed to resonate with me. Either, the film is trying to tell me that this killer has been active in many other horror franchises. Or he just likes to dress up and kill each Halloween. Isn't every horror icon triggered around Halloween? The first notion would be incredibly daring. But I think a more experienced director would have been able to sell this better.

Overall, this film fails to do that one thing horror films are supposed to do. So why even bother if you can't deliver that horror goodness?

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