Review: BUS PARTY TO HELL (2017)

Since his debut back in 1991 with THERE’S NOTHING OUT THERE, writer/director Rolfe Kanefsky (ART OF THE DEAD) has amassed a long list of credits, mostly in the horror and softcore genres. In BUS PARTY TO HELL, the blood and boobs collide and the results are messy. In more ways than one.

The plot is pretty basic. A party bus on its way to the Burning Man festival become stranded while taking a shortcut through the desert. Of course, it’s near a Satanic cult’s ceremony. A cult that actually can raise demons. And who believe their “Chosen One” is on the bus.

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BUS PARTY TO HELL bounces back and forth between horror, comedy, and T&A. It never really decides what it wants to be, and the result is bloody splatstick one minute, cringe-inducing violence the next and then “BOOBS!!!!” after that. It just keeps undercutting its own efforts, turning a good scare into a bad joke or adding stupid plot twists as excuses to show more nudity. If it had chosen one genre and added a little of the others, it would have been a lot better.

Granted, BUS PARTY TO HELL never slows down enough to be dull and there are plenty of effects. The practical gore and monsters are actually pretty effective, especially a beheading. The brief bits of CGI, however, are awful. There’s also fun performances from Sadie Katz(AUTOMATION, MAYDAY) and newcomer Stefani Blake.

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Top-billed Tara Reid (AMERICAN PIE, ALONE IN THE DARK) has a glorified cameo. She does have a lot of fun with it, though, fighting mummies until the film throws her under the bus. Devanny Pinn (LILITH, CHASE)  has an even smaller role, and it pretty well sums up the film’s humour. She’s arguing with a photographer over posing nude when mummies attack. One of them puts a plastic bag over her head when, of course, her top pops off and hits the photographer who grins, shouts “Topless!” and starts taking pictures while she suffocates. This isn’t one for the easily offended.

The film ends with the announcement of a sequel, and if they fix a few of the original’s shortcomings, it could be fun. I’d especially like a bit more backstory about the cult. And the mummies for that matter.

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To be honest, if this had come out back in the VHS era, my younger self would have rented this and double featured it with DEMONWARP on a regular basis. As it is, I’m thinking it would have played better at a festival or if I was watching with friends and some “refreshments”. Living room party to Hell, anyone?

BUS PARTY TO HELL is currently available on VOD, streaming, and DVD.

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