Horror contemplates in nice element how younger individuals deal with inordinate conditions and all of life’s sudden challenges. Whereas the style forces characters of all ages to face their fears, it’s particularly concerned 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 of us on the point of 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 sights 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 really 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 chance somebody may not be taking part in by home guidelines.
In Hell Fest, the six foremost characters go to the eponymous horror park on its busiest evening of the 12 months — Halloween after all. 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 evening. Little by little Natalie realizes this isn’t part of the present and he or she is in peril. Sadly, convincing these round her one thing is fallacious proves inconceivable in a spot the place the whole lot 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 up to date fable, 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 girl being murdered by the antagonist, recognized solely as ‘The Different’ (Stephen Conroy), at a unique hang-out a number of years in the past. Afterward, Natalie’s pals convey up the identical crime in hopes of spooking her as they enter their very own damned vacation spot.
Hell Fest acts on the thought of very dangerous issues occurring in plain sight. The backdrop of Halloween solely enhances the confusion at hand; devilry is appropriate and inspired on that evening. As within the unique Halloween — producer Gale Ann Hurd pays respects to her good friend and mentor, Debra Hill, with Hell Fest — everybody’s sense of actuality is thrown off by this sooner or later’s foolery. Individuals costume 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 excellent time for somebody resembling The Different to behave on their darkish urges and get away with it beneath the guise of Halloween mischief.
Because the obvious ‘ultimate lady’ character, Natalie is of course extra cautious. Coming to Hell Fest with Brooke (Reign Edwards) and their pals is Natalie’s manner of stepping out of her consolation zone and getting away from the day by day grind. But when Natalie lastly will get into the spirit of the evening, 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 in search of his scene associate. What her pals in the end 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 of us at haunts and giving them one thing to be actually scared about. Whereas a personality dealing with their fears in a horror film is usually empowering, Natalie’s boldness is what units issues shifting towards chaos.
A slasher popping out immediately has to work more durable than one thing tied to a franchise. They usually must function a gimmick to get seen, however what makes Plotkin’s film stand out is de facto its back-to-basics angle and execution. Not solely is the story easy but partaking, however there may be additionally a non secular return to the slashers of yesteryear. The tried and true routine of stalking younger individuals out in the true world and away from their protected 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 way in which. 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 thought of protected scares. Along with the pretty likable characters are an immersive ambiance and excessive manufacturing values. It’s unclear if what was meant 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 films set round Halloween.