This is not a tribute, but a lazy slasher with no real ambition.
I never thought I would say this, but boy, do we need Michael Myers right now. Hell Fest primes itself up with a slasher in a haunted theme park premise, that promises some good fun scares and screams, but flatlines the audience’s attention when it really needs to.
So first of all, our lead psycho is a tall, lumbering man who never shows his face but wears a creepy mask, and goes about randomly killing teens with whatever items he can find in the park. It’s okay if it sounds familiar, because sometimes it’s not easy to reinvent the wheel, but Hell Fest’s villain is almost never menacing. Occasionally creepy yes, but hardly one to feel that threatens enough to build tension. While classic super-villains like Michael, Freddy and Jason retch up the nerves while they home in on their prey, making giving great pay-off with the kill, the one here, marked by a tear in his boot, seems to be trying too hard.
Even as we follow our six teens through the attractions, Natalie (Amy Forsyth) annoys us with her confusing agendas. One moment she acts like there’s some history going on with best friend Brooke (Reign Edwards), another she’s gushing about nice guy Gavin (Roby Attal). So when the killer appears and she discovers it might just be all too real, her reactions are bizarre.
Her douchey friends don’t help too (there’s always at least one, but hey, Hell Fest gives you two). With their sneers and taunts and jibes, the cliche performance makes me want to kill them myself.
That said, the sets are pretty awesome. There’s plenty of variety and visual (fake) gore to cheer the fans, but it gets spoiled by the cast who run through them alone, something any horror house fan will know isn’t possible.
Add the unbelievable with the intolerable, this horror trip is dead on arrival.