HELL FEST BLU RAY REVIEW (LIONSGATE)

Hell Fest is a 2018 slasher film directed by Gregory Plotkin (Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension). It was written by Seth M. Sherwood (Leatherface), Blair Butler (Polaroid), & Akela Cooper (Grimm & Luke Cage). It was produced by Gale Anne Hurd (Terminator franchise, The Punisher franchise, The Walking Dead, & Aliens) & Tucker Tooley (Brothers, The Fighter, Limitless, & Out of the Furnace). The budget was $5.5 million & it grossed $17.5 million worldwide at the box office. Hell Fest is introduced as a horror theme park which travels across the country during the Halloween season. A young girl is stalked & killed by a masked figure known as “The Other” (played by: Stephen Conroy from American Made, Cell, The Host, & Stranger Things). Natalie (played by: Amy Forsyth from A Christmas Horror Story, Torment, Channel Zero, & Beautiful Boy) meets up with her best friend Brooke (played by: Reign Edwards from The Bold and the Beautiful, MacGyver, & Snowfall) at her old place.

She discovers her former classmate Taylor (played by: Bex Taylor-Klaus from Voltron, Scream: The TV Series, The Last Witch Hunter, & Arrow) that she doesn’t like is Brooke’s new roommate. Natalie has been distant lately due to the stress of school & work. They decide to meet up with Quinn (Christian James from Dollface, Freefall, & Legal Action), Asher (Matt Mercurio from The Resident, Sleepy Hollow, & Powers), & Gavin (Roby Attal from The Long Road Home, Messiah, & Red 11) to enjoy a V.I.P night at Hell Fest. As they go through the park, they notice the same guy is following them around. Some of the group starts to disappear so they are starting to question if this is all an act or is it actually real? The Barker (played by: Tony Todd from the Candyman franchise, Final Destination franchise, Hatchet franchise, & Night of the Living Dead) narrates their living nightmare & provides some entertainment that makes them lose their head as they struggle to find their way out of Hell!!!!

Hell Fest has a really creative & awesome concept going for it but it doesn’t fully live up to it’s potential. The amusement park looked great & it was full of all kinds cool horror related things in the various locations there. The villain here has a real simple look with the creepy mask & hoodie but it actually works. The slasher sub genre hasn’t been that active for awhile now so it’s awesome to see something like this made especially with studios like CBS & Lionsgate backing it! I am really glad that they went with the R Rating & didn’t water down the production. It had some solid gore & special effects from the kills. Besides one of them, that’s the most disappointing thing with Hell Fest. They are too generic & basic, nothing stood out with them. The execution felt lazy to me especially since that’s the main attraction of this type of feature.

It also has no nudity so don’t expect anything sleazy. There will be no Oscar nominations for the acting either but I think the female leads were decent enough for the material they were given. Tony Todd’s cameo was my favorite part about this film! He narrates a variety of rides & rooms plus he has one big scene in Hell Fest. I wish his character had a bigger role in this. If they make a sequel, I hope they expand his character in it. The whole production kinda reminded me of a 90s slasher flick when stuff like Urban Legend, I Know What You Did Last Summer, & Scream were making the sub genre relevant again to the mainstream. Don’t expect anything nasty or brutal like it was made in the 80s from this, it fits more of the later & more recent Slashers made. It’s a little cleaner & more stylized compared to those older classics. It’s very fun & entertaining, I still thought it was way better than expected. This could end up being a future horror franchise if it’s done right, RECOMMENDED!!!!

Let’s talk about the high definition presentation & special features from Lionsgate! This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer looks stunning on this blu ray release! I can only imagine how the 4K looks, I would have loved to review that version. The cinematography is killer here, it’s a very colorful & stylized production. The amusement park provides eye catching sets for the various rides & rooms at the main location for the feature. It’s loaded with so many familiar horror elements & references to classics. It has 4 different audio options which include English: DTS:X, English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English: Dolby Digital 2.0, & Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 on this disc. All the thrills & suspenseful are elevated here, it has a nice boost to it! The dialogue is very clean & the music roars in the home set up. Both picture & sound are excellent on this release. It also has English, English SDH, & Spanish subtitles. “Thrills and Kills: Making Hell Fest” is a little over 16 minutes.  It has interviews with director Gregory Plotkin, producer Gale Anne Hurd, actors Bex Taylor-Klaus, Roby Attal, Christian James, Amy Forsyth, & others. They talk about the project & it’s stand out concept. They mention the different rooms & rides for it. It goes over the visuals for it. They chat about their experience working on Hell Fest. They say it was easy to bond together & get into their roles for the production. It has some behind the scenes footage. It brings up the kills & the villain for the film. It has a “Theatrical Trailer” for the film. It has a few Lionsgate related “Trailers” before the film starts. It also comes with a slipcover, a digital code, & A DVD copy of the release. It was released in various formats including 4K & DVD. It’s available everywhere right now, check it out!!!!