The filmmakers describe their movie Hellbent as the "first gay slasher" pic. Uh, okay. Yes, this certainly is. But is it any good? No, not particularly. Even if all the protagonists were straight (and some were women), Hellbent would still be an awful horror movie. A lack of "jump" moments, near absence of coherent story, cheesy gore effects, and mediocre special effects all contribute to a film that is low on thrills, and big on dullness. The last two are forgivable given the assumed low budget of the film. It looks worse than it is primarily writer/director Paul Etheredge-Ouzts filmed Hellbent digitally, and the transition to film was not kind. It stacks up relatively well to large amount of underground or DVD release only horror films, aside from being a bit too amateurish. At times, it's hard to tell if Etheredge-Ouzts was purposefully trying to aim for laughs, or if it was truly this bad.

The setup is similar to most slasher movies. There is a group of photogenic stupid young kids. They just all happen to be gay men, and the setting this time is Halloween in West Hollywood. A crazy murderer, this time a huge buff guy in a silver devil mask and wielding a scythe, takes them out one by one. The guys run around, do stupid things, have sex, and die. One of the problems with Hellbent (to be fair, it's a problem with many horror films) is that the people are very uninteresting. They look extremely cute and have nice bodies, but beyond that, nothing. Eddie (Dylan Fergus) works a desk job for the police department. He's wearing his dad's old uniform (or part of it) as his costume. His friend Tobey (Matt Phillips, Champion, Mitr, My Friend) is a model who decides to spend the evening in drag. Chaz (Andrew Levitas, Psycho Beach Party, In & Out) is a horny cowboy, and Joey (Hank Harris, Pumpkin, Pearl Harbor) is new to the whole scene. He has a crush on a guy he met at a prior party, and tonight, is decked out in bondage gear. None of these actors have that much experience, and it shows.

Eddie knows that the night before, two gay men were beheaded. He's a bit worried, but overall, doesn't seem to care, as they will be barhopping on some very crowded streets. Unbeknownst to them, they see the perpetrator, piss him off, and he begins offing them in earnest. Over the course of the night, Eddie meets Jake (Bryan Kirkwood, A Midsummer's Night Rave, The Forsaken), a cute motorcycle boy he met earlier. They spend the rest of the night flirting and getting closer to each other. Meanwhile, the hulking murderer hunts them down one by one. Here is where the problems begin. Unlike other slasher films, this one takes place in a huge crowd of people. Nobody seems to notice (the fact that its Halloween is a thin excuse) that people are being butchered right next to them. Moreover, it's hard to imagine that the murderer will remember these exact five people, especially when walking in a crowd of thousands. Next are the death scenes. They are not very gruesome or original. By not grossing people out, or even attempting to frighten them or make them jump out of their seats, Hellbent become boring. It allows people more time to focus on some of the bad Batman and Robin-esque purple and green backlighting (with each room getting one color). The last straw is a late revelation about a certain body part of Eddie's (no, not that part) that is so stupid that it's not even funny.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 25 minutes, Not Rated but contains sensuality, violence, and language, an easy R.

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