Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
When a group of friends go party in West Hollywood on Halloween a killer with a devil mask and a sickle follow. As the night progresses, one by one they fall victim to this horny devil and he ain't looking to get laid.
Is it good movie?
HellBent has everything that most people would want from a horror film. Loads of promiscuous young people having sex, getting drunk and getting slaughtered with bloody glee. Yet, the young people, refers to twenty something dudes having sex with each other. If that bothers you, then you need not read any further. This is a gay horror film in the truest sense of the word. Yet, as a horror film, it is very well made. Nothing groundbreaking, aside from being a gay slasher film but it seems to tweak the clichés a bit. Eddie (Dylan Fergus) is a young guy who works as a clerk for the West Hollywood Police Department who in his spare time looks up mug shots of "hot guys". Since he works for the police, he is aware of a couple of brutal murders of two gay men making out in a car only the night before. So we already know some bad shite is going to happen, as they tend to do in these kinds of movies. And when he and his friends unknowingly come face to face with the killer, the trap is set.
Horror movies of this ilk are pretty simple, a killer for some reason or another decides to pick off the good looking cast until one or possibly two survive. We are then left with a will there or won't there be a sequel ending. Sometimes movies like this work and sometimes they don't. And for the most part, this film works. Very reminiscent of the early eighties horror flicks trying to cash in off Halloween and Friday the 13th, this stands a bit higher than many other slasher fare. Although the dialogue is fairly inane, the cast, including Dylan Fergus, Hank Harris, Bryan Kirkwood, Andrew Levitas and Matt Phillips are likable enough to root for, most notably Mr. Levitas as Chaz, the "slut" of the group who will "do" anyone. And for the most part, many of the stereotypes that come with this type of film are downplayed as to not become overbearing.
Paul Etheredge-Ouzts has a good eye and knows how to play with our expectations of what should happen in a horror movie. He makes good use of lighting and set design, yet he doesn’t build the tension quite as well as he could have. There are wonderful bits here and there, including a “glass eye” and a couple of really strong kills. We get some bloody beheadings and a very cool sequence where a murder happens in a crowded room. Good stuff but it falls just short of being truly horrifying. Thankfully, he keeps it moving with a better than average cast and he really plays the Halloween angle well, especially the West Hollywood Carnival sequence, damn those are some scary images. This is a good use of the holiday with sex, drugs and rock and roll and the hedonistic aspect surrounding it. I also felt the relationship between the killer and his victims was interesting, yet a little hard to believe for my part; seriously, are all gay dudes this kinky? Although HellBent is not a perfect film, it gets just enough right that it’s worth a look.
Video / Audio
Video: The 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen looks good especially with the carnival sequence.
Audio: The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound great, especially with the alternative (literally) punk soundtrack.
The extras are really basic here. All we get is a Backlot Featurette: HELLBENT (29:34) which contains several interviews with the cast and crew and some behind the scenes footage. This is an interesting look at why they decided to make a “gay slasher flick” and how the used straight actors for the leads (although a couple are questionable). This is a great extra, but it is all you get.
Aside from Trailers for “HellBent”, “Third Man Out”, “Dante’s Cove”, “Julie Johnson”, “April Showers” and “Deadly Skies”
HellBent uses some of the same clichés that appear in almost every slasher flick, but tweaks them just a little. Not only because his victims are gay men who are doing exactly what the people in these movies tend to do, but the relationship to the killer is far more unique being that it becomes almost a sadomasochistic bond. There is a very high “horny” aspect for all involved, no virginal hero here, which only adds to the unique nature of this film. Again, this film is not for everybody especially if you are uncomfortable seeing two gay men get busy. But if you like slasher flicks, you could do far worse than take this trip with the devil to hell.