I give director and writer Paul Etheredge-Ouzts a lot of credit for creating a traditional slasher film with a lot of the conventions turned around for an all gay cast. Every single character in the movie is gay, right down to the psychotic masked killer. Ironically, “Hellbent” does fall in to the traps of conventional slasher films, with people willingly walking in to danger, and a slasher whose origins is completely unexplained. I was disappointed in the latter, as I was expecting a big twist, or at least a link to protagonist Eddie’s past as an aspiring police officer.
That said “Hellbent” is at least a fun horror film filled with some memorable performances, entertaining characters and excellent mood. Paul Etheredge-Ouzts knows how to direct some suspense sequence, and he is very good at framing his killer, the devil masked nearly nude murderer with a very sharp scythe. Dylan Fergus plays Eddie, a police technician reduced to handling files when he fails to become a police officer. Hoping to attract the attention of a potential male suitor, he travels to a huge LGBT West Hollywood Halloween party with his three friends.
Little do they know that they’re being stalked by the devil mask donning slasher who, the night before, decapitated a Gay couple in the woods near the party. “Hellbent” is slim on narrative but it does a good job in depicting these men in their element, as they’re oblivious to the slasher while trying to enjoy being themselves for just one night. Sadly, just about every character in the movie are engaging save for character Eddie, of which the movie revolves around. Writer and director Paul Etheredge-Ouzts follows the four characters as they venture back and forth in the massive party.
It becomes pretty sad when we watch the killer slowly pick them off in about as vicious and painful manner as possible. Chalk it up to budget or location restrictions, but “Hellbent” inevitably walks in to some glaring plot holes, including a murder and beheading that occurs in the middle of a dance floor. As well as director Etheredge-Ouzts frames and films the scene, it’s insanely far fetched that no one even noticed one of the partiers fall to the ground sans a head. “Hellbent” is not without its flaws, but it still comes out ahead in the end as a fun Halloween treat with great direction, and a weird final scene I wish would have led in to a sequel.