(director/writer: Owen Egerton; cinematographer: David Blue Garcia; editor: Dan Hirons; music: Pong/Chopper saurus;cast: Tate Donovan (Dr. Conway), Robbie Kay (Dax), Seychelle Gabriel (Sam), Jacob Batalon (Krill), Barbara Dunkelman (Ashley), Nick Rutherford (Lenjamin Caine), Chris Doubek (Roger Hinckley), Rebecca Lynne Wagner (Jayme/Red), Tristan Riggs (Young Dax), Zachary Levi (Himself), Owen Egerton (Anthony Walsh); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Seth Caplan, Will Hyde, Ezra Venetos; Rooster Teeth; 2018)
“Bloody, witless and tasteless valentine to horror films.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The Austin-based horror fan filmmaker Owen Egerton (“Mercy Black”/”Follow”) directs, writes and stars in this bloody, witless and tasteless valentine to horror films, that plays to its targeted young geek audience with in jokes and familiar plot tropes from the cheesy horror films of the 70’s & 80’s. The film’s most memorable line is “If movies were real life nobody would buy a ticket.” It’s an escapist film, where ultra-violence and scares are meant to be cleverly entertaining but were not.
Blood Fest is the name of a horror festival taking place at a large outdoor gathering. A few years ago on Halloween night while the adolescent Dax Conway (as a youngster Tristan Riggs/as a teen Robbie Kay) and his nurturing mom (Rebecca Lynne Wagner ) were watching a Bela Legosi horror movie on TV, when mom is slashed to death by an intruder in a Grim Reaper costume. His psychiatrist dad Dr. Conway (Tate Donovan) kills the killer and lectures the traumatized Dax that he feels horror movies are bad for children because it poison their minds. As a teen, Dax has become obsessed with horror pics and joins his video store co-workers, his secret love interest Sam (Seychelle Gabriel), the hacker comic relief fat virgin Krill (Jacob Batalon) and the vain wannabe actress Ashley (Barbara Dunkelman), in attending the Blood Fest. Through Ashley’s obnoxious director date (Nick Rutherford), she gets Dax into the fest. Dax goes to the event without his dad’s knowledge. Once inside, the gamer and horror fan audience is trapped in a lock-down of the event and are hunted down by werewolves, zombies, malevolent clowns and monsters, controlled by the sicko event promoter/M.C. Anthony Walsh (Owen Egerton), who is having a ball secretly making a film of the massacre and having his finger on controlling the gory killing spree.
Zachary Levi has a cameo whereby he’s quickly killed off, as the film makes one too many inane quips about his voice work on Disney’s Tangled.
The horror film actor (Chris Doubek) refuses to speak his catchphrase to the idolizing kids who meet him while on the run to find a way out of the arena, as he still believes he’s a serious actor despite being in low-brow B-horror films.
This is a one-joke film that goes on for too long. It comes with a contrived twist ending as to who Walsh partners with, which is just another nonsensical bit in this unpleasant horror film that was neither funny nor hip.
REVIEWED ON 9/5/2020 GRADE: C-