Hell's Half Acre (2023)

Starting out on the positive, Hell’s Half Acre throws us in the middle of the paranormal action with a supernatural attack which demands our attention.  I don’t even think we are fully aware of where we are when the screaming begins.  That’s a good thing, too, as a young woman is violently attacked, clawed by a demonic presence (making the sign of the holy trinity on her back), and then gets violently dragged away and locked up for good in that abandoned Rockland Heights Prison.

"one hell of a twisting narrative that will keep you on your toes"

It’s a hell of a start and it definitely grabs our attention.  Unfortunately, it will be a while before Hell’s Half Acre gives us something which tops that to focus on.  Director John Patrick Tomasek has the earnest ambition down pat when it comes to his filmmaking intentions.  He’s giving audiences exactly what we want from a low budget thriller like this, jump scares and all.  It’s just that the good in this rather unexpected unnerving fright fest is buried by a lot of unpolished acting as two groups of young urban explorers embark on a night of survival neither team will forget.

And, as is the case in low budget filmmaking, that fact has a tendency to take away from the overall effect of the film. To its credit, Tomasek’s film overcomes this with one hell of a twisting narrative that will keep you on your toes, forgiving all the raw acting from the first 15-minutes as exposition is deposited for later mining.

Hell’s Half Acre follows Marcus as he leads his group of young urban explorers Jessie, Dan, Jose, and Cassie to abandoned locations for their popular YouTube channel Strange and Abandoned Places with the goal of gaining ratings and paid sponsors.  Marcus has some Daddy issues and they come to the surface from time to time as he is presented with different ideas on what his crew can do next.  They aren’t a ghost hunting team and Marcus is, at first, reluctant to go explore the abandoned prison.

But Rockland Heights is a different sort of property and these urban explorers are up for the challenge.  Or so they think.Hell's Half Acre (2023)

The team quickly discovers that the abandoned Rockland Heights Prison is unlike any other location they've ever been to before as strange things begin to occur almost immediately after their arrival. They discover they're not alone as it becomes a fight for their survival against terrifying and dangerous paranormal demonic entities.  Trust me on this one, you won’t see the twists coming thanks to the efforts of the film’s director, which ultimately makes it one worth sitting through.

Co-starring Quinn Nehr, Brynn Beveridge, and Omar Vegga Jr., Hell's Half Acre earns its 3-stars as the supernatural takes place, overtaking the acting from the two competing teams which dogeared a rather rough beginning. 

The scares are honest and quite effective, making even this asshole critic jump and twitch out a smile of satisfaction as the narrative comes together in a surprising fashion.  But, and this is paramount here, the location of this abandoned prison should be the icing on the atmospheric cake and exploited for maximum value at almost every turn in its low budget rollout.  It isn’t and parts of the prison look more bookish than emptied.

Produced by Distant Star Films and complemented by an original score composed and produced by Ramesh Kumar Kannan and original songs and title score by VORE, Hell’s Half Acre comes together with surprising finesse as some nice gore effects take root and blossom on the screen. 

Twist-fuelled horror awakens when Hell’s Half Acre, directed by John Patrick Tomasek, is released on April 28th from Terror Films.

3/5 stars

Film Details

Hell's Half Acre (2023)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.

: John Patrick Tomasek
John Patrick Tomasek
Quinn Nehr; Brynn Beveridge; Omar Vega Jr.
: Horror
You Cannot Escape Eveil.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Terror Films
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 1, 2023
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Wannabe YouTube Urban Explorers in an abandoned prison quickly realize they are not alone and have to find their way out as they fight for their lives against demonic inmates..


Hell's Half Acre (2023)