The self-aware horror movie came to us in 1996 with Scream. This new generation grew up watching slasher flicks and codified their stories into a loose set of rules that would more or less predict the outcome. Just like the first wave, this horror by fans for fans spawned several sequels, parodies, and imitators while adding a new dynamic to the genre. Elsewhere, the emergence of reality TV brought an onslaught of cyberpunk-inspired voyeurism ranging from simple found footage films to surveillance-inspired romps like Cabin in the Woods. Drawing from all these sources, writer/director Owen Egerton concocted Blood Fest, the ultimate horror film for gore-hungry fans of all types.
Dax (Heroes Reborn’s Robbie Kay) loves horror. Unfortunately, his mother was murdered by a homicidal maniac and his father (Tate Donovan) publically crusades against the genre. Dax’s closest friends convince him to go against his father’s wishes and join them at Blood Fest, a Renaissance Faire-type celebration of all things horror hosted by “legendary” producer Anthony Walsh (Egerton). The bloodshed is all too real, though, leaving Dax and his friends to fight their way through zombies, vampires, homicidal maniacs, clowns and more to find an exit.
“…Dax and his friends to fight their way through zombies, vampires, homicidal maniacs, clowns and more to find an exit.”
As AC/DC proclaimed, “If you want blood, you’ve got it.” Egerton gleefully tosses tropes, subgenres, and archetypes at a chainsaw to watch them splatter in a single steaming heap of meat. Each scene pays tribute to classic horror while laughing at the sheer enjoyment of it all. Cliches play out both predictably and unpredictably and often hilariously. The nerds that worship this stuff are heroes while villains dismiss or vilify it as trash. Add a cast who truly enjoys delivering their lines – no matter how cheesy – and you have the makings of excellence.
Technically, Egerton gets it as well. He damn sure knows his way around a camera but also grasps the horror fan’s lack of patience. Like 2017’s excellent Mayhem, it takes less than twenty minutes for the fun to start, then doesn’t let up until the final credits roll.
Horror’s goal is simply delivering fun. The thrill of constant frights releases rollercoaster-level endorphins the fans can’t get enough of the rush. Blood Fest shoves it right in our faces and then some. Get ready to bleed.
Blood Fest (2018) Directed by Owen Egerton. Written by Owen Egerton. Starring Robbie Kay, Seychelle Gabriel, Jacob Batalon, Barbara Dunkelman, Chris Doubek, Tate Donovan, Rebecca Lynne Wagner and Owen Egerton.
9 out of 10 stars