Hell Fest is the story of some college friends who go to one of those Horror Theme Parks and find themselves stalked by a serial killer. This has been done before, but this film plays it straight. This is not a tongue in cheek thriller.
Natalie arrives to visit her best friend Brooke, who informs her they have tickets for Hell Fest, a massive and extremely popular haunted theme park.
Shortly after arriving, they cross paths with the film’s serial killer. Wearing a mask (that is revealed to be a common mask for employees to be wearing in certain sections of the park) he appears to pick victims by watching for those who behave jaded. If you make a big deal about how not scary he is… well, Natalie and her friends are there when he claims a victim. And then he chases our six leads, dispatching them one by one and not being caught, because the rest of the attendees are assuming it is all part of the show.
There are some genuinely tense moments and even one of the better cell phone scares I have seen in horror recently. At the same time, the film is not self aware at all. I mean, it clearly was made by people who understand slashers, but it follows the formula almost to the point of being a bit slow.
The film lacks the enjoyment of horror that the whole premise seems to need…it simply treats itself to seriously.
Seriously though, if I never have to hear the line about how Halloween is the one time of year it is okay for all women to dress slutty again, I will be so thankful.
Oh yeah…and filmmakers? Stop treating Tony Todd like a promotional prop. He is a great actor and deserves to be more than a movie’s “horror cred”.