Thursday, October 27, 2016

My Review of Hellbent (2004)

Written And Directed by Paul Etheredge-Ouzts

Eddie: "Two guys got murdered in their car last night."
Chaz: "Holy shit! Were they boning each other?"

Audaciously billing itself as the first ever gay slasher movie (I think A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge might have something to say about that), this low budget horror flick from 2004 feels very familiar but also a tiny bit different. Namely because all of the main characters are primarily not straight but at the same time, like in all horror movies they're being picked off one by one.

A sickle wielding hunky killer, never given an onscreen name (Luke Weaver) opens the movie by bumping off a gay couple in the woods on the night before Halloween itself. On the actual night of Halloween though, the killer then decides to go after our main characters after they make the unwise move to moon him in the middle of the woods prior to heading to a carnival themed party for the night.

The main characters in question fall into predictable enough tropes - final boy/wannabe cop Eddie (Dylan Fergus) who really is the embodiment of the boy next door lusts after bad boy biker Jake (Bryan Kirkwood) while psyched for the Halloween party with his friends - pansexual party boy, Chaz (Andrew Levitas), male model Tobey (Matt Phillips) who spends the duration of the movie in drag and likeable shy nerdy guy, Joey (Hank Harris) as the killer stalks all of them and manages to kill the majority of them as well.

The characters while not original are decently acted and memorable enough that when they are picked off one by one, their deaths actually count for something. Chaz might be obsessed with sex but he's happy to help a friend out in need while Tobey raises a valid point about male superficiality as Joey got to connect with a hot jock prior to coming to a horrible ending.

It's predictably Eddie and Jake who actually make it out of the movie alive as they get to know each other, nearly have sex and fend off being murdered by the sickle wielding menace. I did like that the movie gave Eddie a fairly decent backstory and while Jake is one of the least convincing bad boys I've seen in a movie, I can at least see why Eddie is somewhat drawn to him throughout the whole thing and their connection feels believable enough to engage with.

As for the killer himself - we never learn his name or his backstory, even though we got one scene where the main characters made some theories about both. I'm not too sure if not having this information actually helps or hinders the movie but as a villain, he's effective enough with at least one kill being truly innovative and his first attack on Eddie proved innovative in revealing something about the character. The fact that he survived the movie seemed like a sequel was being potentially set up but one hasn't surfaced since this release.

- Porn performer Colton Ford made a cameo appearance in this movie during the club scenes. The punky soundtrack for this movie is a bit of a mixed bag.
- The MeatLocker place is actually a church. Now that I genuinely found shocking.
- The movie shares a producer from Halloween/A Nightmare On Elm Street. It's mentioned on the DVD extras.
- The writer and director of this movie has also penned episodes for Dante's Cove.

Whether or not, Hellbent is truly the first gay slasher movie is debatable but what isn't is the movie itself. While it might not have exactly revitalised the horror genre or possibly spurred more LGBT horror, it is however a thorough engaging and decently acted/characterised movie that doesn't needlessly outstay it's welcome or devolve into torture porn territory either. It definitely feels like a smaller movie but it's definitely a worthwhile horror flick to give a whirl to over the Halloween and the cast are certainly great guy candy as well, even if most of them end up on the cutting floor.

Rating: 7 out of 10

No comments: