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A Slasher with a Gay Twist

Halloween night becomes hell on earth for a group of fun loving gay men when a devil mask-adorned serial killer decides he's had it with their light hearted, horny escapades. Paul Etheredge-Ouzts's writing/directing debut is a tolerable, if not predictable, color by numbers horror film.

Hellbent starts off with a bang as two handsome gay men fog up the windshield of their car with heavy petting and breathing. A strange figure watches from the woods and eventually materializes near the parked car and in short order adds two heads more to his collection. Aspiring policeman, Eddie (Dylan Fergus) (who happens to be gay), is asked to post some fliers around town regarding the serial killer who seems to have a penchant for beheading gay men. Naturally, it doesn't take very long before the killer starts going after Eddie and his gay friends.

The performances of Dylan Fergus and his gay posse (Hank Harris, Bryan Kirkwood, Andrew Levitas, and Matt Phillips) are serviceable at best. Eddie is the only character in the film who matriculates beyond one-dimensional. Eddie's friends are little more than horny lambs to the slaughter. Their sole purpose in the film is to serve as victims for the killer.

Etheredge-Ouzts clearly knows the genre well and Hellbent heads down the well-worn path of pretty much every mediocre slasher flick. The main characters engage in various debaucheries only to be picked off one by one. We don't really care because the characters being picked off have no real depth or substance (not that this is a real departure, but the rare good slasher flick usually has a few characters to give a shit about). The only thing that really distinguishes Hellbent from any other horror flick is the poor souls being picked off are gay.

While I suppose it's refreshing to some to see a film like this that is catered towards the gay market, Hellbent falls short. It doesn't provide the viewers with interesting or compelling characters and perhaps, most significantly, fails to provide even a hint as to what the killer's motivation is. Truly, this is the Achilles heel of Hellbent. Is the killer a scorned lover? Is the devil killer a homophobe? Good slasher flicks give you some of the aforementioned. Unfortunately, Hellbent doesn't fall into this category.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars