Now on DVD: Hell Night

Synopsis: Four college fraternity/sorority pledges must spend the night in a house known for a gruesome murder twelve years earlier. The fraternity president intends on scaring the group with a bunch of pre-planned pranks. However, the night takes a deadly turn when they realize the house isn’t empty.

What I liked about this movie: When I started watching this film, I figured it would be your typical 1980s horror movie; excessive blood, gratuitous nudity and much more gory than it was scary. I was wrong.

Even though there are still some 1980s elements in this film (the stereotypical characters, he police that don’t believe the victims, the girl who runs around in her underwear, etc.) it was a movie that was actually scary. This was both because the movie gave no hints about how it was going to end and because it was written in a way that added some suspense.

The killer, for example, doesn’t just spring up from the trap door in the bedroom. He rises slowly (bringing the rug with him), causing you (well, actually my wife) to scream at the characters to turn around. And that scene in the basement (with all the dead bodies around the kitchen table) is something that did stick in my head a bit.

I also liked the fact there are two killers (something that is apparently revealed early on in the movie but I didn’t realize right away) because it does make escaping much harder. They can’t simply run away when they see one because there might be another one around the corner. The fact it never tells you for sure who the men are also adds to the overall creepiness.

What I didn’t like about this movie: This movie was made roughly 8 years after Exorcist and took advantage of Linda Blair’s star power. And after seeing her cuss out a couple of priests, launch projectile vomit and pleasure herself with a crucifix in the other movie, I figured she would either end up being one of the bad guys in this film or, at very least, would be a strong-willed heroine who would take charge.

That wasn’t the case. Instead, her character was actually a bit on the meek side. She seemed to be scared of her own shadow and needed the men to protect her. I think she did a great job. But, I also was a bit disappointed she was used this way.

Final Opinion: This might look like your typical 1980s slasher flick. But, this is a movie that will give you some legitimate chills. I recommend watching it while sitting in a dark room.

Average Netflix Grade: 2.9 stars out of a possible 5.

My Grade: 4 stars.

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