‘Hell Town’ – Stoke the Fires and Prepare to Burn (Review)
Written by: Tara Mae Jackson
Directed by: Steve Balderson and Elizabeth Spear
Cast: Debbie Rochon, Pleasant Gehman, Amanda Deibert
Hell Town, as presented by Debbie Rochon certainly seems to be taking a risk right from the get go in this indie thriller. Tongue in cheek humor and soap opera like scenarios are immediately evident, hosting a variety of characters as the story begins to unfold. The way in which you are introduced to the story does leave a bit of a “coming in on the middle of something feel” which, for me, instantly makes you feel like you missed out on some pivotal information. The explanation for this as the description tells you, is that it isn’t actually a movie at all but episodes of an un-aired television show in which the first and third seasons have been destroyed, leaving us with season two episodes seven through nine.
The basic story has you chasing red herrings while a “letter jacket killer” stalks the various players of our little drama filled horror romp. We have the typical clash of classes, teen angst, and bitter rivalries evident right from the start. A mother in a coma, a father who needs to choose an heir, and a heinous killer who seems to have it in for the Hellions of Old Town’s high school, slashing the jocks and stealing the letters from all their jackets. Throw in cat fights and dirty secrets and you start to get the idea what you’re in for with this film.
After being shown a “previously on Hell Town” highlight reel of the missing episodes, we are then thrust into the midst of the goings on, a certain amount of storyline having been previously established there is no proper introduction to any of the characters, and they interact with one another based off the parts in which we don’t get to actually see. That being said, you can fill in some of the blanks as you watch, and if you can shake the dropped in the middle of something feel, you’ll be able to follow easily enough. Though a lot seems to be going on, the plot itself is simple, so you don’t have to worry about feeling completely lost.
Fans of quirky humor done almost to the point of being a spoof will probably find this a lot more enjoyable than fans of straight up horror. While it definitely has that thriller element as the body count begins to rise, this just isn’t a movie meant to be taken seriously. At times the performances seem over the top to the point of unbelievablity and the scenes meretricious. Though it does seem that this was what the directors were going for, so in that case they have succeeded in their attempt. This isn’t a movie for everyone, and I believe some may want to turn it off rather quickly due to the obvious lack of a true beginning to the story, but perhaps one should give it a fair shake, I truly feel this movie will have a following with a certain type of audience, but if you don’t like to mix your horror with comedy, albeit dark, then you may want to skip this one.
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