Film Review: American Fright Fest (2018)

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SYNOPSIS:

Blood runs rampant on Halloween night when a small towns’ Fright Fest becomes real inside the walls of a long abandoned asylum.

REVIEW:

Review: “American Fright Fest” never gives up on itself. We have the director to thank for this I suppose. Whether it should have given up on the cutting room floor is an individual choice each horror fan has to make. It is indeed scary at times, which is surprising for its PG rating. Dylan Walsh of “Nip and Tuck” Fame is looking slightly old and certainly less adept with his lines. He’s Spencer Crowe, a fallen from grace horror director who is trying to make a comeback. To color it up a bit, he rents out an old insane asylum and laces cameras in various locations. His “direction” takes place in a room that resembles the film “Sliver.” He watches everything that happens in between huge snorts of cocaine. You might try and edible or a 6 pack while watching, it appeals to that sort of consciousness. The director is Ante Novakovic, a non-director who has worked in the miscellaneous crew of a few big name movies. This apparently was his chance at a horror hit. Too bad it didn’t rise that high.

Luke Baines plays the “good criminal” that escaped from the prison bus. He has a fascinating “brow” region on his face. His deep seated eyes make him a great villain only in this one he’s not a villain, really. The evil killer also got off the crashed prison bus. Baines’ character gets a conscience and tries to warn everyone in the asylum but fails miserably. My logical mind disallowed me to accept most of the premises in this film. If you are a comeback kid director, why are you locked in a room with peeping tom cameras on innocent thrill seekers? At one point, many have been hacked and slashed and the director tells everyone he is filming his “best work.” Why didn’t any actors in this film object to that line? It makes no sense. Good horror directors create scenes, they don’t film them as they come to pass. Madison McKinley is a “fest” to herself. She makes the waiting through the plot bearable. We don’t see a whole lot of her though, probably owing to the PG rating.

Last year I enjoyed two other films like this: “Hellfest” and “Haunt.” The former was my favorite. It was simple and not a comedy. Comedy in horror has to be done very well for it to work as a scary thing. These two films I saw last year were definitely not comedies but they were like “American Fright Fest” in that they were movies about scary attractions. Personally, I might have enjoyed “American Fright Fest” more if it lost the comedy elements. It was not very credible and you need that to be scary.

In comedic fashion, a dwarf was cast. He is Finkle, the assistant of the director. He does every little thing for the director and it might be funny except for the fact that they take it way too far so it’s annoying. One example is the way Finkle has to hobble over to open beers for the addicted, codependent director. Finkle is loyal but in the end, even he is a victim of the evil and crazed director. His last name is “Crowe” and I couldn’t help but think of Cameron Crowe. He may not be a horror director but the name definitely seemed derived.

In conclusion, the premise of this film is what killed it for me. There isn’t much to see horror-wise but perhaps the drug use and drinking is a secret message to viewers who want to enjoy. I can see how some of the kills and gags might be funny while inebriated, unfortunately I saw it stone sober so I’m not one to ask. Having said that, there are some PG horror films made for television that work their runtime and they are scary. After all, remember Poltergeist is PG. Still others like this one miss the mark on several levels. It’s definitely ok for a brew ha ha, so keep it in mind for that. I give it a 5/10. Do you think differently? Please let me know, I’d enjoy a dialog with you in the comments.

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