Plot: The trials and tribulations of Pledge Week can be a lot for prospective rushes to endure, from the initiations to the pranks to the potential rejection. But there is also a lot of fun and good natured bonding that can happen, provided you don’t have to spend the night in a haunted mansion. This is exactly what some fresh recruits must do to prove they’re worthy of the fraternity/sorority lifestyle, spend a night in the eerie house home to countless supernatural rumors. While the brave pledges venture inside, some of the brothers remain outside and plan to pull off some pranks, just in case the ghosts don’t show up this time. But as strange things begin to happen and the night takes a dark turn, will anyone survive to see the sun rise?
Entertainment Value: Hell Night is a movie that has a lot of familiar elements for genre fans, with frisky coeds, an eerie house, and a mysterious presence, but it fails to spark much of a connection. The movie does have a few scares and even some cool looking kills, but in between, things get dull and rarely budge. A lot of time passes in this one where not much happens, when that time could have been used to stoke the tension or atmosphere, perhaps even pile on a few more kills to spice things up. This is not a slow burn chiller by any means, where a gradual buildup pays off, instead we just have a burst of horror here and there, to break up the boredom. As slow as the movie is, I still don’t think it is a terrible movie, as it has a couple nice kills, Linda Blair is fun to watch, and of course, the 80s horror vibes add some nostalgia. I don’t need nonstop blood or sleaze to appreciate a horror movie, but Hell Night really tests the patience of the audience with a lot of mundane filler content. The cast is fine, but I wish the coeds were more colorful and interesting. The surfing monologue is a lot of fun, but moments like that are few and far between here. This one is best suited for nostalgia and those who need to see every 80s horror movie, but I can’t offer a strong recommendation, as I think it is a bit of a chore to make it through.
No nakedness. This one puts a bunch of lusty coeds in a haunted house…then has them engage in minimal sexual hijinks. A missed opportunity if you ask me, as the movie needed some razzle dazzle and some sleaze could have worked wonders. While the scene has no naked flesh, the exchange where the dude strikes a surfing pose and talks about waves instead of mounting his lady is a bright spot. A little blood splashes around, but not much. As Halloween proved, you don’t need buckets of gore to be effective, but Hell Night scrimps on the tension and atmosphere as well. I did appreciate the neck break sequence, while other instances of violence include decapitation, impalement, shotgun trauma, pitchfork fun, and some blade handiwork, but again, none of this is graphic or produces much bloodshed. The dialogue has a few highlights, but is mostly just forgettable, filler style writing. I would have loved some wild or at least campy lines to show up, as it would have broken up the dull stretches, but despite the lack of scares, the movie resists embracing the camp aspect. No craziness. As you can imagine by this point, I would have killed for some over the top or at least mildly off the wall things to happen, but no such luck. This is a very safe, very tame horror movie that never tries to veer from established conventions.
Overall Insanity: 0/10