Hellbent was a real surprise for me. It is a well made, high production value, well acted, well scripted, well shot, low budget film. Think Halloween rather than Friday the 13th.
A group of west Hollywood friends who are gay head out to WeHo's famous Halloween parade and then on to bars to drink and see who they can see. (This setup is not too far afield of many other slasher film set ups). Along the way they manage to draw the attention of a serial killer of homosexuals dressed as a devil. The rest of the film is standard slasher film stuff: they run and some die and they run some more, and more die and then a heroic man survives the day to destroy the evil only to realize that evil just ain't gonna lie down and die.
So what's the attraction; why bother? Well, the easy reason is that this film is made by but not necessarily for the homosexual community. The actors are all portraying gay men (though the actors are not necessarily gay - it is, after all, currently avante garde to play gay). Then, the set up works well within the gay genre - gay men being attacked for being gay - wow, that's not only believable but very very real.
What makes this film unique (from most of the gaysploitation films being made) is that the production values are so amazingly high. These men can act. This script is tight. The filming is of a high quality. The editing is top notch. The direction is good. This film is highly watcheable.
My gripe? Why the heck is the killer doing what he's doing? What's up with that?
Is my gripe with Hellbent in particular for this? Nah. It's pretty much part and parcel with the film genre.
Is that good? Yup. I think Hellbent's producers intended to make a good gay horror film to show that a good horror film can exist with gay characters and not necessarily appeal to only homosexuals. I don't know that its theatrical release would have acheived that, but I do believe that word of mouth with spread and that the film may eventually find favor with teenaged boys who want a good scare, regardless of the lack of boob shots.
For the record, there is little man-to-man contact in this film beyond kissing (and that is to a bare minimum). There is ZERO nudity and the four letter word count is quite possibly less than a single episode of NIP/TUCK....in fact, NIP/TUCK is probably far racier than this film. The gore...well that's another story. This is, after all, a slasher film.
Rent this and you won't be disappointed. It's a good slasher film - and not just for the gay community.