College students are infamous for making bad choices, an unfortunate trait that horror movies have capitalized upon to cast them as subjects in psychotic misadventure. That’s the premise for Hell Fest, Gregory Plotkin’s upcoming story of a serial killer on the loose in an amusement park. The trailer, released on Tuesday, invokes a number of familiar slasher movie touches to get the blood pumping in fans of the genre, while bucking a trend along the way.
Our protagonist Natalie is visiting her best friend Brooke and Brooke’s roommate Taylor. While Natalie’s in town, Brooke suggests they celebrate Halloween by attending the eponymous Hell Fest, a carnival with rides, games, and haunted houses. The three friends bring along a couple of dudes to the festivities, only to find out that the amusement park was once a site of interest for a murder case, which is very gruesome but also totally on-brand for a thing called Hell Fest.
Soon, a killer with an emotionless mug shows up:
‘Hell Fest’ Bucks a Horror Trend as Neon Crowds Replace Rural Gloom
Visually, Hell Fest seems to buck a gloomy trend in horror movies where the lighting is washed out bland — this movie has rollercoasters, fun houses, and a Midway bathed in vivid neon.
And rather than being set in some backwater cabin or abandoned town, Hell Fest is set in a bustling park during operating hours. Our group of desperate college students are surrounded by hundreds of patrons, but the twist is that no one believes them. Their pleas for help go unheeded in a carnival where everything is designed for thrills and scares. Even the cop they plead with thinks they’re just a couple of punk kids yanking his chain.
There must be a sick sort of satisfaction for a killer to know that his victims are so close to help yet so far away, on Halloween of all days. I dig that.
CBS Films president Terry Press is interested in turning Hell Fest into a franchise. We’ll see if it has the makings of a series when it hits theaters on September 28.