Film Review: Hellweek (2010)

SYNOPSIS:

Rush week turns unexpectedly hellish when a band of sadistic, masked, homicidal maniacs holed up in an abandoned warehouse wreak havoc on a bunch of not-so-innocent college kids.

REVIEW:

This horror film was horrific to watch for all of the wrong reasons, I’m afraid. The story was very vague and seemed to take a century to actually get to the point, which is one sure-fire way to lose an audience. Both the camerawork and acting can be described as amateur at best (and even that’s pushing it!). On paper, I think that Hellweek could have been a mildly interesting horror movie, but unfortunately it succeeded in being downright dull instead. I really wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone who has more than half a brain cell.

The film begins with news of a girl who’s gone missing (a common move in a lot of horrors!) and then we skip ahead to a year later, where a fraternity is planning how best to ‘haze’ their pledges. The guys are obvious ‘jock’ type of characters whose main focuses are drinking and getting laid, and the girls that we’re introduced to aren’t much better. I think the portrayal of ‘students’ in this film is pretty exaggerated and offensive if I’m being honest. The fraternity then host a party and JJ (the leader) decides to take some of the pledges to the haunted warehouse that night to ‘freak them out’. This is the point where things finally start to kick off (thank god) with the boys bumping into a bunch of ‘crazies’ in the warehouse. What happens next is fairly nonsensical but basically consists of the crazies hunting and killing the characters in true slasher form.

None of the characters are likeable, and there is a superfluous amount of sexual-orientated puns which did begin to annoy me very quickly. A couple of delightful examples include “I get more ass than a toilet seat” and “I’m off like a prom dress”. I mean, come on! Could dialogue get any lamer? JJ is the main character but he is just so awful that this must be a contributing factor to the overall failure of this film. Whenever he’s not in the scene, people are talking about him and I just don’t understand how he has managed to be so ‘popular’ when he’s clearly a giant douchebag. The first half of the movie plays like something from American Pie, with there being no real horror at all. The students were such two dimensional stereotypes that the viewer doesn’t care about any of them – torture them, kill them, we don’t care. If anything, that comes as something of a relief!

A huge problem with Hellweek seemed to be that it didn’t know where it was going – there were random characters and sub plots introduced which had absolutely no relevance to that main story. There was even a fairly long scene near the beginning with the girls visiting a psychic! What? I have literally no idea what the writers were thinking to be honest. Whilst Hellweek would settle quite nicely into the ‘slasher’ sub-genre, it kept trying to introduce some kind of ghost element to things which I thought really wasn’t necessary. The students were all talking about some ‘urban legend’ that happened in the old factory and I felt the point was somewhat laboured. Besides, the amount of time they spend talking about it is far more than they ever spend in it – I believe it is not until forty minutes into the movie that anyone even steps foot in there. There’s building up a sense of atmosphere and there’s taking the mick.

The use of a chainsaw as a weapon really has to be an homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, because that franchise pretty much owns that concept now. I really hope that Hellweek intended to be a light-hearted spoof, because I would have so much more respect for it if it was. Whereas The Texas Chainsaw Massacre actually had some decent kills and a moderately decent storyline to carry the film, Hellweek had neither, which was bitterly disappointing. The problem here is that if it was trying to be a spoof, then it still fails because the only thing that I found funny was how laughably bad everything about this movie was.

Even the sound had some serious issues going on, as there were some parts where the dialogue is barely audible and other times when it’s deafening. The outside shots had a fairly distracting background ‘wind’ sound which is something even an amateur filmmaker should be aware of.

So Hellweek fails at being funny, but does it manage to be scary at all? Hell…no! The ‘crazy family’ who apparently live in the old warehouse tried way too hard to be ‘crazy’ by giggling constantly and spouting really clichéd lines. There was one absurd moment which had a woman screaming and being chased by a man playing a banjo! It was so utterly ridiculous that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. I felt like there was not enough time dedicated to really understanding more about these oddballs. If we had been subjected to less time on the pointless frat party, maybe then we would have gotten to see more actual horror. More horror was definitely needed!

I found Hellweek to be a very dreadful and boring watch that people would do best to keep clear of. If you want chainsaw wielding psychopaths, check out The Texas Chainsaw Massacre instead, as that comes without any annoying dose of fraternity boys and sex puns.

Hellweek (2010)

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