Friday, October 11, 2019

Movie: Hell Fest (2018)

I'm not gonna lie. I've never been through a haunted house and honestly, it's for the safety of the workers. My fight or flight would kick in and I'd end up kneeing an actor in the balls. Yep, I'm that person. This recently popped up on my Facebook feed, and it's me ~ I would do that, not to be a jerk, but for my own safety ~ so I simply avoid them...and I don't like things jumping out at me. I give the scare actors a lot of credit to deal with crap like this.


That being said, I decided to watch Hell Fest. I'm not sure if it's my fascination with amusement parks, my lack of experience and curiosity with haunted houses, or Halloween time, but I really enjoyed it! (Contrary to many critics.) It was suspenseful, the characters have good chemistry and seem like real people, and there was a couple of twists that made the story even better.


***SPOILERS AHEAD***

The movie begins in a haunted house maze with a creeper that kills a girl in the house and hangs her body with the other props. That's pretty smart. I imagine she wasn't found for three days because the guests going in thought she was part of the experience. (She probably got stinky.)

Cut to (pun intended), a gal named Natalie unexpectedly visiting her best friend Brooke. Brooke has a roommate Taylor, that doesn't necessarily get along with Natalie, but makes an effort for Brooke's sake. It's announced that they have VIP passes to Hell Fest, a traveling horror night with rides, a DJ, dance party, skeleton cage dancers, bars, haunted houses and more. Natalie isn't really keen on going but goes with the gang because Gavin ~ a guy she's interested in ~ will be there. Brooke and Taylor are going with their boyfriends.


Looks like a blast. You can find me at the bar. 

Brooke wears cat ears. She's a girl after my own heart. <3


Upon entering the park, everyone goes through a metal detector and is scanned with a wand, making it obvious you can't bring in weapons. Shown from the back, going into the park, is a guy in a black hoodie with scuffed boots. You get a cue from the muffled sounds that he's the killer. He's only ever shown from the back, and he puts on a mask, then he's shown with the mask on. You never see his real face. The guests think he's one of the actors and he hides in plain sight. He then grabs a knife from a food stand within the park. Again, that's pretty smart! Use a weapon that's already there.


Our killer.

The group of six, Natalie & Gavin, Taylor & Asher, Brooke & Quinn enter their first haunted house, aptly named Deform School. There's a girl running inside screaming at them to help her. They think it's part of the act. The masked killer, that we saw earlier stabs this girl in front of Natalie. Her friends try to convince her that it's just all part of the show. He then begins to follow their group and lurks behind them.


Taylor, Natalie, Brooke.

The next maze they go to is the Deadlands, where the actors are allowed to touch you. (That's a nope from me.) To enter you first have to go on an old school dark car ride called Night Bumps. (Side note: Interested in dark rides? The Dark Ride Project is a great resource.) They end up going without Gavin because he wants to go back and get a prize from one of the games for Natalie. He tries to buy one from the carnival worker, and after he says "no", Gavin tries to STEAL ONE! That's not cool bro. Just when you think he's not going to die, because he and Natalie had a moment in a photo booth, he ends up getting killed by our masked murderer, who then takes Gavin's cell phone, and continues to correspond with the group, so they think Gavin's still alive. Smart again. Also, they show Gavin's head getting bashed in with a giant mallet. The practical effects are great!

On Night Bumps there's a locked bar that holds you in the car, Natalie has to ride alone because Gavin is still M.I.A. While she's on it, the ride stops and the lights go out. She sees the masked killer and you see him come towards her. So you think she's the next one to die, NOPE! PLOT TWIST! There's more than one person dressed in a black hoodie and the same mask


The group goes to the Deadlands and enter a triple maze haunted house where they are separated. The killer is inside and kills Asher ~ Taylor's boyfriend ~ by stabbing him in the eye with a syringe. The killer makes sure that Natalie knows he's inside too...disturbing. 

Natalie is thoroughly creeped out and gets sprayed with goo from one of the scare actors. Then Brooke and Natalie go to the bathroom to clean up. While in there, Natalie messages Gavin and hears a phone go off in a nearby stall. The killer is in there with her. He attacks her and she gets away. Brooke and Natalie tell security and of course, security doesn't take them seriously. They find some of the photo booth pictures in the bathroom and know the killer was in there with them.

Taylor being oblivious to what's going on volunteers to have her head chopped off on stage with the owner of Hell FestTony Todd (THE Candyman. He's the only big name in this movie.) The killer tried to chop Taylor's head off, but she gets off the stage. The killer follows her into the crowd and stabs her. That's when hell breaks loose! (Get it? "hell"?) Ok, so the crowd scatters. Natalie and Brooke end up in the Hell maze, supposedly the scariest of all of them. The killer follows them and upgrades his knife for an ax. Smart. The gals grab weapons from inside the haunted house. Also smart. They confront him, Brooke gets her leg slashed and Natalie stabs him. Cops come, but by then he's gone.


Dapper Tony Todd.

They show a car pulling up to a garage in a suburban neighborhood, the driver pulls in. He unlocks a cabinet in the garage WHERE HE KEEPS OTHER MASKS! It's our killer. He takes off his mask, hangs it, and we see that he still has photo booth pics of Gavin and Natalie, those also go inside the cabinet. It's as if he's punching out for the day and hanging up his work gear. Then we see him come into the house where he's greeted by his daughter who was asleep on the couch. The real scare is the realism. Killers can be family men...or women.


The killer seems to know where everything is inside the dark rides, he knows what mask to bring, he knows how to blend in and where to find good weapons, he's strong, but you never see him or find out who he is. You never hear him speak. After he was stabbed did he go to the hospital or just go home? Your guess is as good as mine.

Overall I give it 4 masked creepers out of 5. I've read a lot of bad reviews of this movie because there wasn't enough gore, or it was slow, or it's just a slasher film. I would venture to say that I liked it because I LIKE slasher films, amusement parks, realism, and that there are not one, but two final girls. Bonus: it was filmed in a real amusement park, Six Flags White Water in Georgia

Here's the trailer...






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