Graphic by Jarrod Castillo/Editor

Hell Fest / Night School Review

There are two movies but only one of them is worth watching.

Courtesy of IMDB, CBS Films, Lionsgate

By Gerrel Sayles, Contributor

After watching “Hell Fest” on opening night, all I feel is disappointment. Despite all the excitement and buildup about the slasher/horror film, it didn’t deliver.

Judging from just the previews, the movie seemed to have a lot of potential to deliver a terrifying film. The movie focuses on a group of teenage friends attending a Halloween-themed amusement park event similar to Knott’s Scary Farm or Universal Studios Horror Nights.

The difference here is that “Hell Fest” was supposed to be the best of the best. The amusement park included many different in-depth mazes, with the most unique one called “The Dead Lands,” where workers are dressed up and able to touch attendees.

Why the killer does what he does is very hard to follow.

The movie starts off with a murder, as an individual's corpse is hung as a prop in one of the mazes. More importantly, the camera focuses on the killer’s shoes.

Then it shows a guy walking through the metal detectors at the park wearing a hoodie and the same boots as the killer. Once he enters, he puts on a mask to fit in with the othered costumed characters so that he can go unnoticed. Throughout the film, the killer is able to improvise tools, such as a knife or a syringe prop from one of the mazes, to use as weapons.

Why the killer does what he does is very hard to follow. As the viewer, what I got was that he kills attendees because they weren’t afraid of him. The killer then proceeds to harass the protagonist and her group of friends throughout the film because of that reason.

The film follows traditional horror film tropes, where the killer walks slowly and picks off their victims one by one while also getting to and from places with extreme speed. For a slasher film, there wasn’t much slashing going on.

The storyline was poor and there were absolutely zero times during the film where I felt a sense of suspense or horror. The whole point of a horror/slasher or any film, really, is to evoke emotion. Since the film failed to do this, the film felt rushed. The ways people died could’ve been way better than what was presented on screen.

It’s best for you to just wait for it to come out on DVD. I’d suggest you go watch the film “Halloween,” which comes out on October 19.

Meanwhile, “Night School” lived up to the hype that preceded it.

The movie doesn't have a “laugh-out-loud, fall-out-of-my-seat” type of energy yet it has its moments, making viewers laugh and wonder, “How did that happen?” or “What are they doing?”

With superstar comedians Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, viewers expecting laughs got exactly that. What made the movie a solid must-see, though, was its supporting cast.

Actors Rob Riggle, Taran Killam, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Romany Malco and Joseph Antonio Cartagena, known as Fat Joe, were hilarious. Subtle actions, such as Malco’s character brushing the bald spot in his hair or Lynn Rajskub’s awkward speeches, ultimately gave viewers a diverse sense of comedy rather than just blatantly comical scenes coming from the two main stars.

The film focuses on Teddy Walker (Hart), a successful salesman that didn’t graduate high school. He is living his best life with the girl of his dreams and after receiving great news from his boss, his future seems very much secure.

As Teddy is on his way to propose to his girlfriend, catastrophe strikes; suddenly he loses his whole future, losing his job, his car and eventually, his fiance. This leads to his best friend offering him an opportunity he simply cannot pass up. In order to secure this opportunity, however, he needs to obtain his GED.

Often treated as someone that isn't intelligent enough to get through life, Teddy is an underdog that tries to use the skills he learned as a salesman to get through school. He goes on a long journey to be admitted to the night school, with many obstacles in his way. Relying on his charisma and salesman attitude gets him in trouble but with the help of Carrie (Haddish), his high school teacher and his fellow classmates, he is able to get back on track.

Throughout the movie I found myself laughing along with the audience. The movie doesn't have a “laugh-out-loud, fall-out-of-my-seat” type of energy yet it has its moments, making viewers laugh and wonder, “How did that happen?” or “What are they doing?”

Ultimately, “Night School” provides a good laugh. It isn’t a bad movie but it won’t necessarily blow you away, either.



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