Josh Bell

Billed as the first gay slasher movie, Hellbent faithfully lives up to its description, combining worn-out horror clichés with gay stereotypes to achieve a result that's both overly familiar and sometimes surprisingly new. The overall effect is more of the former, meaning that the film's greatest achievement is proving that gay people can make mediocre horror movies just as well as straight people can.

Writer-director Etheredege-Ouzts dutifully follows the slasher formula, with two random characters getting offed by the killer before the credits, followed by the introduction of the movie's central quartet, including such horror mainstays as the intrepid hero; the slut; the shy, nervous wallflower and, uh, the guy in drag.

There are a few original elements (like the drag) that put fun twists on the genre, and the writing and acting are slightly above par for a low-budget production. But the story is barely there, and Etheredge-Ouzts coasts on the idea that combining homosexuality with homicide is revolutionary. By the time the mechanics of the plot kick into gear, it makes no difference what the gender or sexuality of the characters are. In the world of by-the-numbers filmmaking, homosexuals and heterosexuals have finally achieved true equality.

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