Ouija boards ain't nothin' to fuck with. If only someone told that to the two young girls in the newly streaming film Hell of a Night; maybe things would have gone done differently. Both written and directed by Brian Childs, Hell of a Night starts off by telling us the story of Gabbie and Heidi - two young girls who are secretly playing with a Ouija board in their closet when they accidentally awaken evil spirit forces that have dwelled deep within the house for who knows how long. Fast forward two or three years: after the death of their father, college aged beauty Blake (played by Rachael Hevrin) and her sister Shaine (played by Grace Powell) unknowingly move into a house with a dirty past as well; without giving too much away, let's just say there's a dark history that lives within the walls of that house. After deciding she needs some time away from the real world, Blake heads out on her own to a beautiful cabin home out in the country... the same house Gabbie and Heidi awakened some evil in years ago. As things begin to go bump in the night, friends betray friends and things take a dark, twisted turn not only for Blake but for her sister Shaine as well. It becomes a fight for her life as Blake battles evil forces - both living and dead - with help from both the living and the dead.
The trailer for Hell of a Night does a pretty great job at summing up what to expect from the film; from it's intriguing séance opening to its blood-covered ending, the movie will take you to epic highs and dramatic lows all in the course of its hour and a half run time - and you can bet you'll get some creepy ass ghosts, some wickedly evil people, and even some of the most absolutely stunning cinematography you never expected to see in a film like this one. There's a whole lotta great and not a lotta lame in Hell of a Night - and I honestly ended up liking the movie way more than I thought. Long time readers of Soulless Cult will know I'm an absolute sucker for a good haunted house and ghost story - I'd even say it's one of my favorite parts of the horror genre. So after seeing the trailer for this one, I knew I had to see it immediately - and I'm so happy to say that for the most part, it lived up to my expectations for it!
In an attempt to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, let me just say this: the actual ghost scenes are few and far between, but when you do get an on-screen appearance by the apparition(s), it makes it just that much more special since you're not being bombarded with ghosts in every scene, which I kinda like better. The apparitions are pretty fucking terrifying in their own way, so their appearances become pretty damn awesome. Blake's interactions with the dead are pretty awesome and make for some great cinema - and Hevrin's reactions and engagements to it/them (I'm really trying not to give too much away here!) as Blake are pretty killer. But that's not her only problem she faces in the film: there's some other living evil she must confront, and that's a whole other level of crazy, and honestly a twist and turn that I definitely did not see coming. There's enough unexpected twists and turns in this movie that if for whatever reason you don't like the story, the chaos that ensues will at least keep your eyes on the screen (but I don't think this one will bore you). To be honest - there's nothing really groundbreaking or anything that will shatter the horror genre in Hell of a Night, but that's not saying it's not a fun watch! If anything, the film takes the good bits and pieces from other films and puts it together to form its own tale. And the final product was a pretty on-edge, low budget thriller flick.
While the acting may not have felt like it was anything award-winning, it's far from bad acting and the cast of predominantly-female characters was excellently crafted; these ladies were all very convincing in their roles and it undoubtedly added to the overall quality of the film. The characters themselves, though, were not quite anybody to write home about, but in films like these, 99.9% of the time that feels like that's the case; honestly, I'm watching to see some evil spirits or demons do some wicked shit, not to fall in love with the personalities on screen so I don't feel like that disconnect between myself and the characters really affected my overall enjoyment of the movie at all. Childs created some cool personalities and had some great talent fill the roles, so that's definitely worth noting. My only gripe with the quality film was it seemed like the audio and visuals were off, almost like the audio was dubbed over, and that kinda kept catching my attention throughout the movie, but I'm also insane to keep that in mind - it might not bother you. Besides that, the editing and production of the film is killer; it's a truly beautifully put together piece of work. Even if you find yourself hating the story and the characters and whatever else, you'll have to at least admit that this thing looks fucking stunning.
Will Hell of a Night have you jumping out of your chair or keep you up at night? Probably not, but if you're just in it for some quality horror cinema and some vicious characters (both living and non-living), Hell of a Night should be worth a watch. A fun, quick little flick with an entertaining story line that will have you rooting for Hevrin's character from the get-go. The final verdict on this one: stream it free if possible, or rent it if you don't mind supporting indie horror. I'd be interested to see where else writer/director Brian Childs wants to take us.
Check out the trailer below for Hell of a Night - available now on all streaming services!