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Scariest movie of the year: Hell Fest

Photo courtesy of CBS Films

A slasher horror with a psychological twist

Many horror movies are released each year, but one of the most unique and haunting choices of 2018 is Hell Fest. The film takes on the fairly standard formula of a serial killer dressing up and pretending to be a worker in a horror theme park.

The characters themselves aren’t that memorable, but perhaps that is the point. Amy Forsyth gives a striking performance as protagonist Natalie, who is about as uninteresting as the dialogue she delivers, which mostly revolves around whether or not a boy likes her. Forsyth plays shock and fear a little too accurately, making the terror palpable.

The audience knows next to nothing about the identity of the killer or his motives, which not only draws them in but also makes it much easier to root for him than for those trying to survive.

Hell Fest is a slasher film without the sentiment to it that most others have. The lack of an apparent reason for the murders allow it to play even more on the psyche. It also takes notes from the equally terrifying and mysterious The Strangers (2008) in it’s characterization, motivation, and entirely silent depiction of the killer.

The whole movie is wonderfully done with the right amount of suspense that keeps the watcher on the edge of their seats as they try to distinguish the killer from the rest of the amusement park. When a character dies, the murders are brutal and made by using any nearby weapon.

Hell Fest opens with a creepy and uncomfortable scene, complete with stalking and just the right amount of black humor to make it enjoyable, a trait the movie carries throughout its runtime.

There aren’t many horror movie tropes within Hell Fest either. Jumpscares are few and far between but put in at the perfect moments; it isn’t overly bloody; all the cell phones have signal; and the killer himself has the strength of a normal guy.

Going into horror movies, one usually knows what to expect, but Hell Fest takes a different turn and thus makes a unique story to be told.

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