‘Hell Fest’ is a slasher film directed by Gregory Plotkin. With plenty of thrills and gore on display, ‘Hell Fest’ provides an enjoyable ride for the genre’s fans. The film’s ambiance creates a façade that keeps the lurking threat hidden from the viewers’ eyes. ‘Hell Fest’ follows three girls who go to a Hell Fest, a horror theme carnival, on Halloween night.
The eerie excitement is visibly present in the theme park, and the friends try to soak up the atmosphere. Little do they know that a killer is stalking his victims in the park and uses the settings to hide his intentions. The girls encounter the killer but think that it is a part of the park’s theme. Things become extremely dangerous for the group when they realize that the killer is following them with the intention of murder. The Hell Fest becomes a symbol of terror when a real threat emerges from the carnival’s subterfuge. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Hell Fest Plot Synopsis
A masked killer stalks a young woman and kills her when she is separated from her group. The killer hangs the corpse, which blends with the decorations of the park. On Halloween night, three friends, Natalie, Brooke, and Taylor, visit Hell Fest along with their boyfriends. Quinn and Asher are partners of Brooke and Taylor, whereas Gavin is interested in Natalie. The group enjoys the festivities and tries to imbibe the spirit of Halloween. Sometimes later, the girls encounter a terrified woman who is running away from a masked killer.
Natalie points out her whereabouts to the killer, thinking that it is all a part of the Hell Fest. The killer murders the woman in front of Natalie, who is left surprised but still thinks it to be a charade. However, the murder seems too real to be dismissed. The masked killer starts stalking them, and Gavin becomes his first casualty. Natalie’s apprehension inches closer to reality as the killer tries to make the group members his next victims.
However, the carnival’s arrangements make it difficult for Natalie and her friends to identify the threat as most of the employees wear the same kind of masks as the killer. As the group splits up, the killer starts horrifically killing them. Natalie, Brook, and Taylor have some close interaction with the killer, but they somehow escape. However, Taylor is killed, and it is up to Natalie and Brook to figure out a way to escape the park and stop the killing spree.
Hell Fest Ending: Who is the Killer?
The killer manages to trap Brooke and Natalie in a maze. The girls get separated in the commotion, and Brooke is cornered. As the killer is about to deliver the final blow of death, Natalie jumps out and stabs him in his stomach. With the killer now wounded, they exit the maze and inform the police. The police subsequently nab the killer. However, the film’s ending is actually surprising.
It is revealed that the killer manages to escape the clutches of the police and moves to his home, which seems to be in a suburban place. He places his mask carefully, along with other similar masks kept in his cupboard. The cupboard contains some memorabilia obtained from his kills. It is evident when he keeps Natalie’s and Gavin’s photograph that he steals from the booth at Hell Fest. However, the striking element of the denouement is yet to come.
A final sense of dread creeps in when we see the killer approaching a little girl sleeping on a bed. The careful blocking of the scene positions the killer’s body’s outline as a looming threat to the girl. As the girl wakes up, she exclaims in joy and refers to the killer as “daddy.” The anonymous persona then hands over a toy to her, which he had taken from one of his victims. The film manages to heighten the tension as there is palpable anticipation of a final kill.
Through its killing scenes, ‘Hell Fest’ establishes the killer as a murderer straight out from a Giallo film, and as the credit rolls, he is referred to as “The Other.” The anonymity of The Other situates the horror of the film within the confines of day-to-day life. The fact that he has a family establishes him as a common person who is symbolic of an omnipotent threat that can literally come out from nowhere.
The Hell Fest provides a setting for the filmmakers to establish that the killer can hide in plain sight. The choice of ending is perhaps visible in one of the early scenes of the film, where the three girls discuss monsters “who walk among us,” albeit on a lighter note. This is what transpires in the film as the killer is indeed a monster who walks among them in the park and has a position in society. With the shock quotient of a slasher film, ‘Hell Fest’ manages to introduce the gripping paranoia of true crime stories.
What Happens to the Girls?
The male characters of the group are killed by The Other in ominous ways. The girls are left to fend off the killer by themselves. Nonetheless, they manage to survive the onslaught of the killer, but Taylor is unfortunately killed. Natalie and Brooke use their wit and willpower to survive the harrowing ordeal. The female leads are strong characters who add an underlying feminist subtext to the narrative. Natalie and Brooke don’t have to depend on their male counterparts for support as they can protect themselves. Even though there is a casualty among the female group for the sake of the narrative, ‘Hell Fest’ devises strong female leads who can stand tall in the face of fatal dangers.
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