Hell Fest 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 243, September 2019

WSR Score3.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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Horror violence and language, including some sexual references
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Gregory Plotkin
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Dolby TrueHD 7.1, DTS:X
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"Hell Fest" is a terrifying celebration of the horror genre. A group of friends are bound for a horror-themed Halloween event at a local amusement park––a sprawling labyrinth of rides, games, and mazes that travels the country and happens to be in town. But for one visitor, the ghoulish carnival of nightmares is not the attraction––it is a hunting ground. On the night the friends attend, a masked serial killer turns the amusement park into his own playground, terrorizing attendees while the rest of the patrons believe that it is all part of the show. As the body count and frenzied excitement of the crowd continues to rise, who will fight to survive the night? (Gary Reber)

Special features include the making-of featurette "Thrills And Kills" (HD 16:28), the theatrical trailer, upfront previews, and a digital copy code.

The 1.85:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally using the Arri Alexa Mini camera system and sourced from a 2K (not 4K) master Digital Intermediate format. The picture is a fest of light, with an emphasis on red. The color palette exhibits a naturally wide color gamut emphasized in lighting effects in a dark night setting of mazes. Hue saturation is strong but fleshtones generally retain naturalness, though, are distorted under varying lighting effects. HDR contrast is excellent with intense lighting highlights against deep blacks and shadowy sets. The range of color and contrast is visually effective. The production design is realistic with an excellent creation of a haunted nightmare. Resolution is superb. Fine detail is exhibited in the production design, costumes and visual horrific effects, clothing, facial features and hair. This is a lighting-effects movie with engaging, though, horrific imagery that is effectively presented and will definitely please those into horror movies. (Gary Reber)

The DTS:X/DTS HD Master Audio™ 7.1-channel soundtrack is dynamic sounding and exciting with an extremely active directionalized surround presence that engulfs the soundfield. Atmospherics abound within the amusement park, as well as sound effects that are sharply and unexpectedly energized. The sound effects accentuate the scares that bolt out from within the mazes. Deep bass heightens the shocks, with, at times, extension to sub-25 Hz frequencies. Every atmospherics and sound effect is directionalized. The orchestral score is dynamic with a very wide and deep soundstage that extends aggressively to the surround channels. At times the music is intense and relentless and combined with sound effects creates a very dangerous and eerie experience. Toward the climax the sound elements create a real sense of mayhem and horror. Throughout, dialogue is intelligible with good spatial integration.

The Immersive Sound element extends the orchestral score to the height layer and complements the affair with sound effects and scary voices that are directionalized, shifting from the front to the back and to the sides to good effect. The music is quite intense as an element, as well as some sound effects. As the movie progresses toward its climatic ending, the music also intensifies. This is a good use of the height layer with effective sound effects and music that supports the main ear-level channels.

This is an exciting and spatially dimensionalized holosonic® spherical surround soundtrack. (Gary Reber)