Hell Night released in 1981 is a fairly uninspired horror movie, a story of a haunted house and the denizen that still lives within set against the backdrop of a college fraternity party and the induction of a few new members. That of course means a bit of drinking and sex followed by a little fright and of course, murder.
What makes this film stand out more than anything is the inclusion of Linda Blair, still with some screen cred after her hair-raising turn in The Exorcist years before. The little girl that was Blair is now all grown up and still looking to turn some heads, figuratively that is, in the genre that made her famous and while the movie is all cliche and familiar territory to the avid or even average horror aficionado, there is some enjoyment and fun to be had.
As a whole, the movie would do its job, introducing the cast and the local legend that just so happens to play into the events that are about to take place. It of course is slightly laughable as one can see it coming a mile away but the makes of the film do a good enough job of it that it keeps the butts of the audience in their seats to see what is going to happen next despite knowing exactly what is going to happen next. The killer is not necessarily fearsome in the looks department so much as his determination and his actions are, the man more like a rabid dog than anything else – looking to rid his house of those who have trespassed within it. He does just that and by the end of the film, it is final girl Blair who has the last laugh, or at least a good cry, when it is all said and done.
Vincent Van Patten and Peter Barton also star and while they try to make the material shine as best they can, there would only be so much that they could do with it. That being said, the pace that is set is steady until it becomes frantic and one’s attention never wavers. There is some good action present and of course, some decent kills by the antagonist but when it comes down to it, it would have been nice if Blair could have had something a bit juicier and meatier to sink her teeth into with this one, as it is and while it is altogether not that bad a time, it could have been better.
2.5 out of 5