Horror contemplates in nice element how younger individuals deal with inordinate conditions and all of life’s surprising challenges. Whereas the style forces characters of all ages to face their fears, it’s particularly taken with how youths would possibly fare in life-or-death eventualities. The column Younger Blood is devoted to horror tales for and about youngsters, in addition to different younger people getting ready to terror.
Not all haunts are made equal. Whereas some are reduce and dry with their scares, others go that further mile when stirring up frights and fueling future nightmares. The amusement park seen in Gregory Plotkin’s Hell Fest belongs to the second class; a category of points of interest generally known as excessive haunts. The film’s namesake is huge and decked out from begin to end. At the same time as guests enter the venue’s extra daunting areas, they really feel relaxation assured understanding nothing can truly hurt them. In spite of everything, these haunts are all about managed scares. What Hell Fest and different locations prefer it failed to think about, although, is the likelihood somebody may not be enjoying by home guidelines.
In Hell Fest, the six important characters go to the eponymous horror park on its busiest night time of the yr — Halloween in fact. The already frazzled protagonist, Natalie (Amy Forsyth), has an inkling one thing is amiss when one of many hang-out’s supposed actors, a menacing and masked determine in a black hoodie, relentlessly trails her all night time. Little by little Natalie realizes this isn’t part of the present and he or she is at risk. Sadly, convincing these round her one thing is incorrect proves not possible in a spot the place every thing feels exterior of actuality.
Hell Fest attracts inspiration from a number of sources, however after having seen the opening scene, the one which springs to thoughts is a traditional city legend. On this modern fantasy, an actual corpse is found inside an attraction; somebody lately died there and has since been mistaken for a prop. One other variation of the identical legend has the hang-out knowingly utilizing a cadaver as a part of its decorations, however the former is the one weaved into the film. The script begins with a random lady being murdered by the antagonist, identified solely as ‘The Different’ (Stephen Conroy), at a special hang-out a number of years in the past. Afterward, Natalie’s mates convey up the identical crime in hopes of spooking her as they enter their very own damned vacation spot.
Hell Fest acts on the concept of very dangerous issues taking place in plain sight. The backdrop of Halloween solely enhances the confusion at hand; devilry is appropriate and inspired on that night time. As within the authentic Halloween — producer Gale Ann Hurd pays respects to her buddy and mentor, Debra Hill, with Hell Fest — everybody’s sense of actuality is thrown off by this at some point’s foolery. Folks gown up in costume, play tips on one another, and let unfastened their most macabre tendencies. In locations like Hell Fest the place the creativeness is overstimulated, and demise is hardly a taboo idea, an individual has to work more durable to differentiate between reality and fantasy as soon as one thing out of the ‘strange’ occurs. Briefly, it’s the good time for somebody equivalent to The Different to behave on their darkish urges and get away with it below the guise of Halloween mischief.
Because the obvious ‘closing woman’ character, Natalie is of course extra cautious. Coming to Hell Fest with Brooke (Reign Edwards) and their mates is Natalie’s method of stepping out of her consolation zone and getting away from the each day grind. But when Natalie lastly will get into the spirit of the night time, she attracts the undesirable consideration of The Different. Because the killer bears down on one other certainly one of his random victims, Natalie comes out of her shell and helps what she thinks is an actor on the lookout for his scene accomplice. What her mates finally discover too troubling to look at solely intrigues Natalie; she spectates in morbid anticipation as The Different hovers a knife over his squirming goal. Giving the killer permission — “Okay, simply do it” — solely places a bull’s eye on Natalie’s brow. The antagonist’s M.O. consists of singling out the braver people at haunts and giving them one thing to be actually scared about. Whereas a personality going through their fears in a horror film is often empowering, Natalie’s boldness is what units issues shifting towards chaos.
A slasher popping out right now has to work more durable than one thing tied to a franchise. They usually must function a gimmick to get observed, however what makes Plotkin’s film stand out is basically its back-to-basics perspective and execution. Not solely is the story easy but partaking, however there’s additionally a religious return to the slashers of yesteryear. The tried and true routine of stalking younger individuals out in the actual world and away from their secure areas is one thing the subgenre did so properly and sometimes within the ‘80s. Hell Fest takes the identical route whereas additionally sprinkling in surprises alongside the best way. On high of that, the setting is modernized with out making the film really feel well timed.
Right here stands a film that twists the concept of secure scares. Along with the pretty likable characters are an immersive ambiance and excessive manufacturing values. It’s unclear if what was supposed to be a brand new and annual horror franchise will ever be greater than a one-off; the primary film’s open ending leaves room for a sequel. As for now, Hell Fest is a welcome addition to each the orders of slashers and horror motion pictures set round Halloween.