Written and directed by Lou Simon
A group of friends nominate their moody mate Jacob to be pranked by hidden camera show Scary Antics. Luring him to an abandoned chemical factory which he already believes to be haunted, Scary Antics plan to scare him good and proper and record the behind the scenes work that goes into the prank as part of a special episode. However, their show, which increasingly pushes the boundaries, backfires when the Scary Antics team become the prey in a bloody game of cat and mouse.
Ever watched a reality TV programme and thought “they’re taking this too far?”. Well, that’s the premise in HAZARD as one failing television show, which focuses on scaring people senseless, is keen to improve their ratings. With each prank pushing the scares further and further, it’d only be a matter of time before their idea of fun and making money off terrifying people would backfire and in Hazard, it does so in style. After one of the crew members forgets to clear the maze of corridors inside the abandoned chemical plant of anything that could be used as a weapon, the disgruntled target Jacob, scared out of his wits, decides to take matters into his own hands… with the aid of a trusty emergency axe, no less. Banking on Jacob being sane and not mentally unhinged, the crew and Jacob’s friends become the target for an extremely furious man who doesn’t appreciate having the piss taken out of him.
Whilst this is without a doubt a horror film, especially of the slasher variety, writer/director Lou Simon doesn’t mind lacing the script with light-heartedness and humour that works quite well between the lashings of blood. The film enjoys poking fun at the reality TV style genre and those contestants who take part in the shows, either to publically humiliate others or to further one’s career in showbiz, much like the character of Melanie in Hazard. Whilst the characters in this film are likable up to a point, they each have their flaws and, though they don’t all deserve what’s coming to them, they in part contribute to the mental breakdown and horror unleashed by Jacob. Dressed in a hazmat suit complete with gas mask, this is one guy you wouldn’t like to bump into in the daylight, never mind the darkened corridors of an abandoned building.
Horror fans will have seen this all before but that doesn’t mean Hazard isn’t enjoyable. It’s a fun film in it’s own way though one can’t help but want more. It plays out exactly as you’d imagine and offers nothing more than people being killed off one by one with an axe by a masked murderer. Most of the deaths are shown in bits or off-screen, creating a much tamer horror affair than some gore-hounds will be used to. There’s nothing that really sets the killer apart except for his backstory of being a moody character after the death of his father who worked at the chemical plant. When we actually meet Jacob, he comes across as quite determined and chipper despite everyone’s description of him being some sombre depressive, which makes his turn not quite as believable as it should, although his subsequent actions make up for that.
There’s a slice of entertainment to be had here if you’re looking for a mild slasher, but don’t expect much more.