Blood Fest review: a celebration of the most iconic horror films, a festival that brings aficionados alike together to celebrate the joys of the genre set in a theme park that prides itself in recreating iconic locations from classic horrors.

Blood Fest review by Awais Irfan.

Blood Fest review
Blood Fest review

So, Rooster Teeth have a new film out: Owen Egerton’s meta-but-trite-and-super-violent Blood Fest. Fittingly, as the title suggests, this is quite the blood fest – a playful and passionate celebration of gore and violence and the horror genre. It’s a bit of a mess. But it’s good, gory fun.

When Dax (Robbie Kay), his girlfriend Sam (Seychelle Gabriel) and their friend Krill (Jacob Batalon), all pretty big horror fans themselves, decide to head along for some chills and thrills, they quickly find out that they may have bitten off more than they can chew when they finally do arrive as Blood Fest’s creator has different plans in mind for the park’s visitors: put your horror skills to the test to survive various scenarios, or die a gruesome death.

The premise is admittedly cool and lends itself to a very tongue-in-cheek horror-comedy; as that, it succeeds – an unabashedly violent and inventive midnight movie. It’s gory and equally as funny, just having a ride with its wild narrative and ideas; Egerton utilises practical effects and genre tropes to think up a whole myriad of fun situations to put its characters in with plenty of imaginative and bloody deaths from decapitations to explosions. It’s a colourful affair too, littered with zombies and clowns and a plethora of horror monsters in dilapidated and scary locations to muster up all kinds of wonderful chaos that is sprawling yet terrifically entertaining to watch. In this regard: Blood Fest is a winner – essentially, Egerton’s playground to mess around with all these genre pieces.

But it’s also just not that great. The screenplay thinks it’s clever but it really isn’t; there are constant mentions of “the rules” of horror in an attempt to be self-aware and meta but, the problem is, despite stating these rules and the issues of these tired tropes, the film falls into its own trappings and dishes out more of these tired clichés than you can count. In this regard, the film feels very contradictory and struggles to really know what it wants to be. It’s also just not that scary. As a horror-comedy, you want to live up to both the horror and comedy mantles; the comedy is funny for the most part, but the scares are all conventional and jumpy and painfully bland. The performances are quite weak too; there’s nothing that jumps out about any of the characters.

Blood Fest is a deeply flawed piece; it’s the exact thing it sets out to mock. It’s also quite trite and uninspired in its narrative – think Saw or Scream and you’re on the right lines for what to expect. However, it’s unashamedly entertaining; given the film is titled Blood Fest, it delivers on what you’d expect from it and meets the quota of necessary blood and gore and fun. It is funny. It is violent. It is colourful and well-constructed as a practical piece; for that reason, this is a hard film to dislike. It’s a bit of a sprawling mess but if you’re not grinning from ear-to-ear then something is clearly wrong because it is a disposable slice of cinematic madness that achieves what it sets out to do: entertain.

Blood Fest review by Awais Irfan, July 2018.

Blood Fest was reviewed at the 2018 Edinburgh International Film Festival.

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Blood Fest