Todd Gaines’s review published on Letterboxd:
Kinda tame but at the same time does a decent job of bringing the scares. I like the mixture of real scary and manufactured fake scary. The masked killer is real and all the other props including other people masked just like the killer are fake. Hell Fest definitely makes you want to watch Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse.
We have some gore but damn did I forget this was R-rated. At times I thought I was watching a Lifetime TV movie. Yes, someone gets stabbed in the eye, but I still don’t understand the MPAA at times. Throw in some hot sex, random nakedness or something obvious to deserve your rating. A few swear words and some almost-good gore: Come on, man. Do better using your rating.
We have an above-average Final Girl. A very stereotypical one, but she’s easily the best of the potentially future dead college kids. The killer’s obsession with her is very obvious, but it is one of the strongest aspects of the plot. I also feel a couple of the kills were rushed. Like the director forgot we couldn’t have them all survive, and killed a couple, just to shrink the living protagonists.
Even with my critical criticism, Hell Fest is very watchable. I like how relentless the killer is, and this could easily turn into a sequel or twelve. I wasn’t sure about the last scene, but after thinking about it for some time, I think I dig it. You could watch a lot worse this Halloween / Hooptober season.