December 31, 2018  (Web Review)

Hell Fest

Lionsgate, 89 min., R, DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $39.99, Jan. 8

Reviewer rating: 1.5/4

Gregory Plotkin’s sophomore feature is an old-school slasher movie that lacks anything to distinguish it from straight-to-streaming splatter fare. The thoroughly unimaginative plot follows three girls and their boyfriends as they spend a night getting scared at Hell Fest, a massive Halloween theme park. None of the six are much more than stock characters (acted by Amy Forsyth, Reign Edwards, and Bex Taylor-Klaus, among others), so it’s impossible to become emotionally invested when they attract the attention of a masked, hooded figure who starts following them around, knife at the ready—a figure who has already sliced up a girl at a previous incarnation of the Fest. This year the unnamed stalker is out to achieve a higher body count, and he kills several of the friends, along with a number of other fair-goers who get caught in the cross-slashing. Most of the murders are simple blade jobs, although the villain shows a bit of pizzazz when he takes a mallet to one victim, drives a syringe into the eye of another, and takes advantage of a guillotine set up for an exhibit. As usual, the ending leaves room for a highly unlikely sequel. Although it keeps the gore level to a comparative minimum, Hell Fest offers little in the way of suspense or excitement. Not recommended. (F. Swietek)