Atrociously acted, poorly scripted and lacking any real scares or tension, my immediate plan after watching Hazard (or Hazmat as it was known in the US) was to lay into it big time.

But for some reason, and I’m still not sure why, I actually ended up begrudgingly enjoying it – not enough to give it a good review I might add, but certainly better than a one-star verdict I’ve seen flying around on the internet.

Perhaps it was the fact that the incredibly annoying characters got what was coming to them, or the odd shot of the killer emerging from the darkness showed a deftness of touch from director Lou Simon that was sorely missing for most of the running time, or it could just have been the fact that at just over 70 minutes I had little time to get restless.

The film follows the crew of TV reality programme Scary Antics, a low-rent, cruel prank show which sees ‘friends’ set up their pals to get the shit scared out of them.

After an opening scene that is so badly acted it really has to be seen to be believed, we get introduced to director David (Todd Bruno), overseeing the latest episode which has a bunch of saps setting up their disturbed, morbid friend Jacob, who’s still seemingly struggling to get to grips with the death of his father.

The gang rock up at an abandoned chemical factory (incredulously, they decide to prank Jacob at the same location his father died, which I’m sure we can all agree is ‘hilarious’) with the intention of getting some scares and laughs courtesy of a fake, axe-wielding killer.

But, wouldn’t you know, Jacob (Norbert Velez) doesn’t take too kindly to this scam, and before long the tables are turned, with the slicing and dicing very much for real…..

Velez makes for an imposing villain (although you do wonder just why ANYBODY would be friends with him in the first place) and, bedecked in hazmat suit and gasmask he certainly looks the part stalking the corridors.

And you really, really, really want to see these guys get carved up, simply for the fact they are so outrageously thickheaded.

This is one of the many problems with Hazard – there are simply no characters to get behind, or warm to in any shape or form.

The kills, while simplistically effective, do come with the all-too-common CGI blood effects that have really sullied the genre over recent times.

And the overall feeling as regards Hazard is that of a film you ‘sit through’, rather than get involved or invest in.

It’s not the disaster some seem to believe, but it is not a film I would ever want to sit through again.


About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle