From Terror Films, written and directed by John Patrick Tomasek, Hell’s Half Acre suffers from having an over-familiar story and unmemorable characters, but makes up for some of that through sheer effort.
Starring Quinn Nehr, Brynn Beveridge, James Matthew Fuller, Kristi Alsip, Tony Lee Gratz, Amanda Buhs, Anthony Pape, Gary Soumar, and Brandon Wall. Hell’s Half Acre’s story surrounds the YouTube channel, Strange and Abandoned Places. Which is exactly what it says it is, a group of young adults exploring derelict locations for the views.
Their next location? Only the abandoned Rockland Heights Prison, which is famous for housing and executing some of the most notorious criminals in the country. Take a guess what happens once they begin to explore the prison? Paranormal demonic entities!
See? It’s a very familiar story. However, there are some notable details that help make Hell’s Half Acre stand out from the pack.
For starters, it’s not a found-footage movie even though the basic set-up screams found-footage. In fact, the movie is filmed with a strong level of professionalism and isn’t afraid to let you see the action. Then we have the group and their reasons for being there. It’s not ghost hunting or for any paranormal reason. They actually run into another group doing that exact thing and mock them accordingly.
There are some fun twists and turns along the way too, and a final fun section that make for an overall more engaging watch.
None of these aspects are particularly ground-breaking but when you offer up such a basic plot outline, anything that makes it more interesting is a win. Especially when a lack of memorable characters and reasons to care about them does see the film slip up. There are plenty running around this prison but almost none of them have any substance to who they are.
Then throw in some suspect acting and grimacing line deliveries and Hell’s Half Acre starts to look like a film that sits right in the middle. Not great, not terrible, just fine.
Hell's Half Acre (2023)
The Final Score - 5/10