Hell Fest: An overlooked slasher film worth watching


Hell Fest disappeared from movie theaters last fall and provided little chatter. Recently it was released on DVD, and digital and turns out, this unique slasher is under appreciated and worthy of a look.

Warning: The following article may contain mild spoilers.

Hell Fest jumps right into the action

Even a slasher film can have some role development but here, we’re not wasting any time. We’re briefly introduced to our main character, Natalie. Immediately, she’s coaxed into attending the extreme interactive horror theme park, Hell Fest. Added incentive is that her would be boyfriend will be there too. From there, Hell Fest takes off pretty fast. A killer is loose in the theme park, (apparently, again), and this group of friends is about to run into him.

It has fun, (if not predictable) kills

Hell Fest does build up certain moments occasionally throughout. Many are silly but somehow still a little suspenseful. Mostly due to great music, and some very cool shots. Also, this killer doesn’t have a weapon of choice. He uses a selection of available carnival items including an oversized mallet and a guillotine. This also manages to make something scary also feel comedic.

There’s a different kind of villain

A slasher film usually has a few varieties. Whodunit style or unveiling a killer from a group we’ve already seen. Or in some cases, a creepy form, be it monster, or mad man stalking someone. Even Michael Myers (pre 2018 reboot of course) had his motives. But in Hell Fest, the killer is unknown and his motives are masked throughout.

More from Horror Movies

This doesn’t conclude like typical slasher films

To some, it may be lacking in storyline or annoying to have what’s considered an open ending. One without explanation, or proper back story. In this case, it’s the unknown that feels more frightening. A simplicity that’s scarier than the typical slasher. Whenever something is lacking a tidy ending, we often feel unfulfilled, but here, it just provokes fear.

A final girl who breaks the typical movie patterns.

Recently, the horror documentary Horror Noire taught us that African Americans die quickly in horror movies and they have few starring or supporting roles. (Of course, movies like Us and others coming up imply this may be changing.) Hell Fest doesn’t provide much character substance but it does give us two survivors. Surprisingly, we have two final girls to potentially side with at the end. One of whom is black. Two themes we historically don’t see in horror movies too often.

The fact that they both come out survivors says something, if not subtly, about the world we’re living in today. One where your seemingly run of the mill slasher film can have multiple badass women.

Women in Horror Month: One for the books with memorable authors. dark. Next

Have you seen Hell Fest? What do you think is a unique slasher film?