Review: ‘Blood Fest’

Blood Fest one-sheet poster

Blood Fest | Owen Egerton | August 31, 2018

Blood Fest, the third feature film from online media company Rooster Teeth, is a satirical horror comedy from director Owen Egerton that takes a meta approach, digesting the horror genre. It takes some of the satirical elements of Cabin in The Woods or Scream, only with more of a modern horror framework on its mind.

The titular Blood Fest is the hot-ticket horror festival in town and it’s all that our central character Dax (Robbie Kay) has on his mind. He’s been looking forward to it forever and is devastated when his father Dr. Conway (Tate Donovan) forbids him from attending, as Dax’s mother (Samantha Ireland) was brutally murdered by one of Conway’s patients as seen in an opening flashback. Ever since then he’s made it his life’s work to take down the genre, blaming violent horror films as the instigating factor that caused said former patient to murder his wife.

Blood Fest still - Robbie Kay, Seychelle Gabriel, Jacob Batalon, and Barbara Dunkelman

There’s no movie if Dax doesn’t find a way into the festival, so he manages to sneak in with his best buddies Sam (Seychelle Gabriel) and Krill (Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s Jacob Batalon), thanks to aspiring actress Ashley (Barbara Dunkelman). What they think is a night of fun devotion dedicated to their favorite genre turns out to be a hellish nightmare where horror becomes reality, just not in the way the attendees are expecting.

Blood Fest still - Bloodied Robbie Kay and Seychelle Gabriel

I admire the attempt Blood Fest makes in analyzing the genre and poking fun at the tropes and pitfalls of modern horror, but it doesn’t go deep enough or find new and creative ways that haven’t already been done by better films. Sure, there’s plenty of fun gore and some funny moments, but it’s a bit too inconsistent and never takes a firm grasp on its satirical goals.

The characters don’t exactly breathe new life into this horror comedy world, but they’re likable enough because of their performances. Robbie Kay grows on you as the lead, and it’s fun to see Jacob Batalon get to do something outside the world of Marvel. The standout performance comes from Seychelle Gabriel (seen last year in Sleight), whose talents seem wasted here, along with Tate Donovan.

Blood Fest still - Seychelle Gabriel, Barbara Dunkelman, and Jacob Batalon

There are a few fun cameos and moments here and there, and the production quality is actually pretty damn good. But Blood Fest fails to bring enough new material to this medium to stand out, and it stumbles on some of the same storytelling pitfalls that it’s making fun of.

Rating: 4.5/10