Director(s) – Hayden Newman and Sam Hodge (Twelve Pole, Glam)
Starring – Hayden Newman (Slasher Scotty, Beam Me Up Scotty: A Podcast), Cody Alexander (Truly, Madly, Pool Party), and Adam Freeman (Cannibal Hookers, Piggy)
Release Date – 2021
Rating – 2.5/5
Several years ago I befriended West Virginia filmmaker Sam Hodge on Facebook when he was promoting his debut film Twelve Pole Manor. The film was a fun supernatural flick that I was not expecting to enjoy as much as I did. Not longer after this the film was released by my friends over at Wild Eye as Twelve Pole. Hodge has been hard at work since then working on several shorts and scoring several films for other filmmakers.
A few days back Sam reached out to me to check out a new feature length film he co-directed with first time filmmaker Hayden Newman. The film, Reunion from Hell, looked like a fun one so I jumped at the chance to check it out. I want to thank Sam for allowing Horror Society and myself the chance to check this one out.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows Riley (Newman) who returns to his hometown after his friend was brutally murdered. Riley left sometime ago when his father died in a car accident on his wake to pick him up while he was partying. Now, after returning home his friends are being murdered one by one. Knowing someone is out for him he begins his own investigation to find out who is responsible but discovers that the killer is someone very close to him. **Spoiler Alert**
Reunion from Hell looked like it would be a fun slasher with a modern spin. For the most part, it was but it struggled in a few different aspects. With some editing and trimming of the scenes we could have something fun but the cut I watched was way too long and had severe pacing issues.
The acting in this one is a little hit and miss. Some of the scenes are extremely well acted but other scenes are a little tough to sit through. The cast’s dedication to their role is unquestionable but several scenes has underwhelming performances. The cast struggles with their volume while over-acting resulting some unintentional laughs and drawn out scenes. I want to explain, this is not the entire film. Some of the scenes are well acted and everyone seems comfortable with each other resulting in other enjoyable scenes.
The story for this one, much like the acting, has some ups and downs. The film’s beginning is an amazing plot device to get the story rolling and the ending is extremely wild but the hour long lump in the middle of the film is rough. The film is compromised of several long and drawn out scenes full of tedious dialogue. This really throws the pacing of the film off and makes it tough to sit through. The film could have a lot trimmed out and the story would still remain intact. Honestly, the film would flow a lot better if it was trimmed down to around 50 minutes or so. With all of that being said, I don’t think enough modern indie horror flicks do a great enough job representing their fans. Most horror movies follow heavily tattooed characters who often have horror oriented tattoos as they act like they’ve never seen a horror movie before. Reunion from Hell brings in a group of diverse characters that represents the LGBTQ community. It’s not often that I get a LGBTQ friendly film to review.
Finally, the film has some fun kills that are a great tribute to the slashers of old. They are bloody, violent, and look surprisingly well for the films. However, if you are looking for a lot of gore then you will be very disappointed here. Overall, Reunion from Hell has some fun moments but the story is stretched way too thin. The movie could use some heavy editing with at least 30 to 40 minutes cut. It still deserves a watch because the opening and ending is well worth it in my opinion.