Hell Fest 4K UHD Review

Generic Fest

A creepy guy stalks college-age women in Hell Fest, the slasher genre in brief. Any awards for creativity go elsewhere, particularly in a year with Halloween’s resurgence.

There is something to Hell Fest, with the images of a persistent stalker behind a woman while no one believes her story. It’s a prominent feeling for far too many women, brought to a head in Hell Fest when a security guard denies the possibility, going so far as to pass the blame onto Natalie (Amy Forsyth). That’s genuinely fearful, and resonant in this era. There’s a lonely, jealous killer in this movie, choosing victims based on who rejects him or those who choose other men.

Everything else is a farce. The setting of a grandiose haunted attraction has merit until reaching ludicrous levels (using a legitimately sharp guillotine on a volunteer). Mostly, the park is in the backdrop, never ceasing in its jump scare efforts. Props fly out from walls and costumed employees unleash gravely zombie growls to monotonous levels. Hell Fest doesn’t wait for a moment – it’s a constant stream of moments. When Hell Fest rushed to theaters, Blood Fest landed on home video, same haunted attraction premise in tow.

Stabbings run together, not so much playing to the slasher’s popularity as much as blandly, listlessly copying it

That leaves those shots of “The Other,” as the killer is known outside of Hell Fest (he’s never given a name in dialog) dulled. He’s creeping in shadows or standing in lights for dramatic effect, finding the visual impression he leaves better than a kill. There’s zero personality, although the anonymous quality strengthens Hell Fest’s look at contemporary fright.

Hell Fest is thus a movie about a masked killer brandishing a knife. How mundane. The setting sees use once – The Other smashes a victim with a hammer meant for the test of strength. Stabbings run together, not so much playing to the slasher’s popularity as much as blandly, listlessly copying it.

As it goes, characters play their roles as victims. They spend time groping one another, having a great time at this ridiculous event, waiting for their deaths. The audience waits too since Hell Fest isn’t out to change any attitudes toward the expected formula. Wait and wait they will while Hell Fest spits out character archetypes, grating in their predictability. Bunched together with the poor saps of other slashers, they’re as faceless as the killer. The only difference is this group knows how to text, if not find a signal to call 911.

If the only goal is to create characters viewers want to see killed, then Hell Fest wins. That’s hardly a victory though.

Video

A blast of color, Hell Fest uses an endless series of LED lights to bathe characters in constant primaries. Intensity runs high. Too much so at times. Opening scenes in daylight feature gaudy flesh tones with overripe reds. Instances later will do the same, although under better control. No matter the case, hefty color shows up frequently, and not detrimental to detail.

All of this lighting makes for a dense HDR pass. Highlights stick out, giving some needed brightness to the frequently dark proceedings. Those lead to some spots of crush in shadows. Light then needs to lift up the imagery. Thankfully, it’s a movie obsessed with pushing various lighting schemes into the frame.

Moderate resolution produces mild texture in the end. Things like black lights stamp out fidelity at times, but generally, texture is enough to earn a pass. Expect little in the way of high-end, high-grade facial definition as seen on UHD. Yet, some close-ups of The Other’s mask deliver, as do some stable shots.

Audio

The streams of screams, laughs, and attractions doesn’t cease for Hell Fest. They fill in the rear soundstage as never ending ambiance. The DTS:X mix makes prominent and rare use of the center surround channels, pushing voices from PA systems directly behind a listener. It’s great. Voices and dialog travel out from the center, with both accuracy and frequency.

For the subwoofer, it’s handling music stings and jump scares. It’s potent. Shocks happen frequently with a strong jolt. Range doesn’t exceed an acceptable norm, as to not exaggerate anything.

Extras

A 16-minute featurette covers the production, called Thrills and Kills. It’s not much beyond a promo.

Hell Fest
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

Credit to Hell Fest for approximating the fears of assault victims, but in the end, it’s a routine slasher story with few unique qualities.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our Patreon-exclusive set of 35 full 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: