Hell High (1986)
Directed by Douglas Grossman
Cast: Maureen Mooney, Christopher Stryker, Christopher Cousins, Millie Prezioso, Jason Brill.
1986 84 minutes
Rated: (for violence, gore, profanity, nudity, and sexual situations).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, November 8, 1998.
"Hell High" is a completely convincing 80's slasher product. It is one that has everything it should have: stupid teenagers, a vengeful, knife-wielding killer, a dark, isolated country house, gratitous nudity, and cliches galore. And shockingly enough, it isn't bad, and is a perfectly good way to waste an hour-and-a-half for those seeking a "dumb" horror movie. It's no more than that, but sometimes, that's enough for any fan of this genre.
As usual, "Hell High" starts off with a prologue in which a little girl, Brooke, witnesses two teens engaging in a sexual act and hurting one of her dolls in a swamp area, and so when they are riding off on their motocylcle, she throws mud in their face, causing them to crash and accidentally get killed. Fast forward 18 years, as four teenagers who hate their repressed biology teacher, Ms. Storm (Maureen Mooney), with a passion, concoct a plan to terrorize her one night while she is alone at her secluded, wooded home. This prank, however, brings back traumatic memories for Ms. Storm, who is Brooke, and she goes crazy. Yes, "Hell High" is victim to every cliche in the book, but it is not the worst of its type, and if you get into it, turns out to be fairly entertaining, if not particularly scary.
One interesting spin in the film is that the four teens are actually not only the victims, but the villains, since they are the ones that start the trouble with Brooke, and they are a slew of truly disreputable characters who deserved to die.
The cinematography and music in "Hell High," is one of the highlights, and there are a few scenes towards the beginning, before the horror starts, that are actually full of a lot of energy.
Although "Hell Night," is getting a two-star rating, which is negative, in no way did I totally dislike the film. For a low-budget, direct-to-video horror flick, it is pretty impressive. If you are in a certain frame of mind, it is a lot of fun. Just don't...ahem...expect an ounce of originality.
© 1998 by Dustin Putman