This Hell Fest scored a 3 out of 5 hatchets from Horror Author, A.R. Braun. The Following movie review was written by dark fiction author, A.R. Braun, to be released on the Ritual Blog for Mind on Fire Books.
The slasher film is my least favorite horror sub-genre, but there are exceptions: Black Christmas, The Last House on the Left (the original), the first two Halloween movies (plus the Rob Zombie remakes), the first Friday the 13th film, Mother’s Day—the original, not the remake—and I Spit on Your Grave, the original. To me, most slashers have little going for them, and my IQ drops fifty points every time I watch one. There’s no plot, just a guy in a mask running around killing people, and a sexy woman who picks a flashlight instead of a weapon.
Hell Fest is no exception.
But at least the characters are intriguing. Hell Fest is one part Halloween haunted house, one part rave, and whatever horrid thing happens, the patrons think it’s part of the show. Little do they know, it’s not FX, it’s real. A serial killer is bumping customers off one-by-one.
Enter our good-person protagonist, Natalie (Amy Forsyth), who folds and agrees to go to this sick shit when peer-pressured. She finds out through her best friend, Brooke (Reign Edwards), that Taylor (Bex Taylor-Clause) is also going, a girl with no filter who calls her “Grade School,” because they went to school together back then, and are no longer friends. Of course Natalie goes for Gavin (Robbie Attal), the nice guy, who’s so overly-kind it’s maudlin.
Early into the show, Natalie watches a girl get stabbed to death, thinking it’s part of the attraction, but said girl was mean to the murderer earlier, a big no-no. Then they notice that a creep wearing a certain mask —which looks like a melted human face—is following them, the antagonist called The Other (Stephen Conroe). When Mr. Nice Guy can’t throw a baseball and fails to get Natalie a stuffed animal, he goes back to buy one … but never returns. His head is pounded to pulp and the hit is so powerful, it rings the high striker.
Natalie’s friends are then picked off one-by-one. At one point, they see a bunch of people in the Other’s mask, then despair that they’re everywhere. How do you escape almost a dozen of them?
Will Natalie be the final girl? Will there be two final girls, Natalie and Brooke, or Natalie and Taylor (since she seems to be the tough one)? Will there be no final girls at all? And what does the Other go home to? All these questions will be answered when you watch Hell Fest (the name stolen from a heavy-metal festival in France).
A. R. BRAUN is a horror author with fourteen publication credits, one a dark poem, including “NREM Sleep” in the D.O.A. anthology; “Freaks” in Downstate Story magazine; “The Unwanted Visitors” in the Vermin anthology; “Coven” in the Heavy Metal Horror anthology; “Remember Me?” in Horror Bound magazine; “Shades of Gray (the Symbiosis of Light and Dark)” in Micro Horror magazine; and “The Interloper” in the Bonded by Blood 2: a Romance in Red anthology, among others.
You can reach him on Twitter as @ARBraun and on Instagram as a.r._braun.