Movie Review: Hell Fest (2018)
Synopsis: On Halloween night, Natalie agrees to go to a traveling horror theme park with her best friend, Brooke and some of Brooke's other friends, partly so she can spend some time with Gavin, a guy she has a romantic interest in. The festival's extreme atmosphere hides the fact the group is being stalked by a mask-wearing serial killer.
Review: I wasn't completely convinced I hadn't already seen this film, mostly because it sounded a lot like many others my wife and I have watched. However, she was sure we hadn't seen it yet and, since I didn't see any better choices, I put it on. As it turns out, even though I was skeptical at first, this film turned out to be halfway decent.
There were a couple things I liked about this movie. The first was the setting. I didn't think the theme park itself added a whole lot in terms of movie scares but it did create the proper atmosphere. In other words, even when members of their group disappeared, it was fairly easy to believe they didn't realize they were being stalked by a killer simply because of what was happening around them. It also made it easier for the killer (Conroy) because witnesses wouldn't be able to tell what was real and what wasn't.
Having the killer wear the same costume as many of the park workers was also a nice touch. It made it harder to tell when he would strike next.
The mystery surrounding the killer was also intriguing. Did he work for the park? Or did he just steal a costume? Also, why was he so obsessed with Natalie (Forsyth)? There were multiple times when he could have easily killed her but, instead, he seemed content just stalking her. Not knowing the answers, combined with a surprise twist (which I won't reveal) made him much more interesting than the bad guy in other recent slasher movies.
Another thing I found I liked about this movie was the way the victims were portrayed. Most of the time, one or more movie victims have it coming and it's hard to care when they do as a result. While I'll stop short of saying every one of the people in that group of friends was likable, none of them crossed a line that said "this person deserves to die." In fact, one of the deaths (I won't say which one) was actually kind of heartbreaking given the context. I have to say, that was kind of refreshing.
Final Opinion: The movie ended up being considerably better than I was expecting and I enjoyed watching it. This is a rarity for me but I am hoping for a sequel.
My Grade: A