By Jeff Walsh
For gay horror fans, "Hellbent" is a dream come true. A killer is loose in West Hollywood, decapitating his gay victims, on the night of a huge Halloween carnival.
The film follows most of the traditional horror conventions: the killer who walks slowly yet always seems to catch his victims, sex leading you to an early death, and the lack of any real motivation for why the killings are happening in the first place.
The movie begins with a gay couple making out in a car near a park. We see silhouettes nearing the car while they pull their clothes off, but with not much room in the back of the car, one decides to hang his head out the window to give them more room. And just as his partner is pulling down his pants, instead of getting head he loses one. Roll title sequence.
The basic takeaway is if you don't like horror movies, you won't like a gay one any better. This is a very formulaic horror flick, with the gay angle its only unique contribution (aside from one great shot that is the inspiration for the cover art).
The cast serves its role admirably, shutting off their character's continuity for the sake of the plot (sometimes they are protecting people from getting near their friends, other times letting them alone so they might meet, and you can imagine what happens when they are left alone).
Personally, I like the horror/suspense movies that balance something a bit more intellectual with their violence (the original Saw, Nightmare on Elm Street, Frailty), and not as much when it is just violence and gore without knowing why there is violence and gore. Hellbent doesn't give us much insight into why the guy with the devil horns and the scythe is killing gay men. He's clearly a ripped guy, so there is some sort of angle going on here.
Maybe we'll learn more in the sequel?