Hell Fest

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Hell Fest Movie Poster Image
Horror fans may enjoy grisly, creepy carnival slasher.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 89 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No real messages here other than that the characters who are targeted for death are the ones who made mean/unkind comments about the killer. It's not a clear message, but it's possible that if the characters were nicer, they could have escaped death.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters seem nice enough and somewhat responsible. They seem to care about each other, even though they're also concentrating on having a good time.

Violence

Characters are killed, with lots of blood/gore. Head smashed by mallet. Stabbings. Leg sliced with ax. Character stabbed in the eye. Young woman smacked in the face. Neck sliced with guillotine. Bodies hung from rafters. Lots of creepy/scary Halloween-type imagery.

Sex

Lots of kissing. Characters thinking about sex. Strong sexual innuendo, sex talk, sexual gestures.

Language

Very strong language includes several uses of "f--k," "bulls--t," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "damn," "boner," "oh my God," "Jesus Christ," and, of course, "hell." Several middle-finger gestures.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Character pours a glass of alcohol. Characters do "shots" in the park (drunk from "hypodermic needles"). A room in a maze shows an "overdosed" woman with a needle stuck in her arm.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hell Fest is a grisly slasher movie set in a horror-themed fun park, where college students are chased by a masked killer. There are several killings, with lots of blood: A head is bashed in, an eye is run through with a sharp object, and women are attacked and wounded. Characters kiss frequently, and there's some mature sex-related talk and sexual gestures. Language is also strong, with several uses of "f--k," "s--t." and more. The characters drink in a social context, but not to excess. Overall, the movie has an old-fashioned, 1980s-style energy, and even if it isn't great or entirely original, the characters are appealing, and horror hounds will likely enjoy it.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 year old Written byElf_Ruler September 29, 2018

Campy, slasher flick suitable for young teens

This is a Scream-esque slasher flick, big on teenage/young adult sexual innuendo popularized in similar movies of the genre but without any nudity. A plus for... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byGhoulGirl13 September 29, 2018

THE BEST HORROR FILM OF SEPTEMBER!

This movie is definitely underestimated! I saw this movie for the 8pm time slot, which I also did for The Nun. When watching The Nun, I was tired. But with this... Continue reading

What's the story?

In HELL FEST, bookish college student Natalie (Amy Forsyth) takes a break from her studies to spend an October weekend with her best friend, Brooke (Reign Edwards). The plan is to go to the scary amusement park known as Hell Fest, along with Brooke's boyfriend, Quinn (Christian James); her roommate, Taylor (Bex Taylor-Klaus); Taylor's boyfriend, Asher (Matt Mercurio); and a nice boy named Gavin (Roby Attal), who likes Natalie. Though not exactly Natalie's cup of tea, the park is lots of fun ... at first. But then they have a run-in with a masked figure who stages a very realistic murder and starts to follow them all over the park. One by one, the friends start disappearing, and park security won't believe that anything suspicious is going on. It's up to Natalie and Brooke to face the creep in the scariest part of the park: the Deadlands.

Is it any good?

Reveling in the kind of scares that were popular in the 1980s, this slasher fest is far from great, but the characters have an appealing realness, and it's spirited and fun overall. The 20-somethings in Hell Fest, especially the three young women, look like real people rather than fashion models, and they actually seem like they could be real friends, not just "types" thrown together. Their excited, blurted dialogue sounds like it could have been improvised; it never sounds overly scripted. The theme park itself, which is much like many modern-day horror-themed mazes and fun houses, is filled with the kind of stuff that you might find at a Halloween Spirit Store, but artfully arranged and lit.

Director Gregory Plotkin (Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension) uses the constricted space of the hallways and rooms for maximum tension. Taking a cue from creepy-carnival movies like Tobe Hooper's The Funhouse (1981), effects appear to lean toward the practical, with actual stage blood and gore, rather than rubbery-looking digital effects. The movie's killer (who hums "Pop Goes the Weasel") is a weak spot; he has nothing to offer that any other masked murderer in movie history hasn't already tried, although the movie cooks up a unique ending. A highlight, however, is Tony Todd -- best known as the title monster in Candyman (1992) -- playing a carnival barker with a penchant for the dramatic.

Talk to your kids about ...

Movie details

For kids who love scares

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