Blood Fest (2018)

I admire the cut of “Blood Feast’s” jib. It aspires to be an all out horror comedy gore fest that celebrates horror movies, and in many respects, it succeeds. I even forgave it for ripping off “Cabin in the Woods.” It’s just even when you shut off your brain, “Blood Feast” is bogged down, and ultimately defeated, by its insanely far fetched climax, and abundance of plot holes. I suspect audiences will leave this movie trying to connect the gaps in logic, more than celebrating its odes to “Saw,” “Night of the Living Dead,” and the fun cameo by Zachary Levi. Seriously, what was up with that? “Blood Fest” has a good idea in its corner it just has no idea how to cleverly deal it out for the movie audience.

After witnessing his mother be viciously murdered at the hands of a masked murderer, Dax grows up to become a rabid horror fan obsessed with death. Despite his father (Tate Donovan), a well known psychiatrist and adamant anti-horror critic’s best efforts, Dax sneaks out with his two best friends to attend “Blood Fest.” It’s the biggest most publicized horror convention of the year. When when Dax and his friends appear to celebrate their love for horror, they’re shocked when they learn the MC of the convention has unleashed a group of chainsaw wielding murderers on the attendees with every intention of slaughtering them. Now armed with their knowledge of horror clichés, the trio has to fight through an obstacle course of horror scenarios hoping to make it out alive.

As it is, a lot of “Blood Fest” feels woefully ill conceived, and stretches the concept of suspension of disbelief beyond what an audience is willing to buy. Even if you’re willing to meet it halfway, you’ll still be turning to someone asking “Wait a minute, I don’t get it…” Owen Egerton has a great directorial eye and does a good job building up the idea that a horror convention is turned in to a gauntlet painted with blood and gore. Egerton doesn’t even waste too much time, dropping us right in to the carnage once Dax settles in to Blood Fest. I just wish we’d seen so much more of that in the realm of horror geeks becoming heroes and using their wits, and so much less horror nods that club us over the head, sometimes with a clunky effect. Egerton and co. also works overtime to lend some sense of scientific logic to their scenarios and you can sense them stretching to make us buy a lot of the set pieces.

When it came to the zombie and vampire scenes, I simply didn’t buy it. Egerton and co. even go one step too many with a final half that’s just so absurd I mentally checked out. Even for a movie where a highly publicized convention becomes the scene of a bloodbath with no cops, or emergency units, or reporters connecting to the outside, I had an impossible time buying the entire introduction of the twist. “Blood Fest” feels unfinished with a ton of plot threads left unresolved and dangling, and I doubt a sequel will fix its narrative problems. Also what is the ultimate message? Reality is scarier than horror movies? Horror movies help us confront reality’s harsher elements? In either case, “Blood Fest” is a horror comedy that never quite masters the terrifying or comedic. At best, it’s just lukewarm genre fodder.