Review: Hell’s Half Acre


It’s rough making a living as an urban explorer of mysterious abandoned buildings. However, Marcus (Quinn Nehr – “Sheltered”) and his small band of fellow videocasters are doing their best. Girlfriend Jessie (Brynn Beveridge – “That Night”) wants to expand their appeal by adding a paranormal element to their YouTube channel. Marcus won’t go for it, even though he’s facing eviction and the money just isn’t there. Little do they know that their investigation of the long-closed Rockland Heights Prison will be the paranormal scare of their lives.

This low-budget “thriller” features an actual prison as the location for most of the film. That’s great. Sadly it also features sophomoric acting, cheap scares, and moronic evil prisoner-ghosts. The cinematography is good, except most of this shut-down-for-decades prison is well-lit and in good condition. It even has electricity available. Good for the electric chair; bad of suspension of disbelief.

The musical accompaniment to the endless running around empty cell blocks is a low-key electronic background more suited to irritate than to set up for scenes of terrifying events. And those terrifying events are more suited to a Halloween haunted house than a professional film.

There is some potential here, but it is wasted. There are references to demonic worship and possession, but never really developed. There is a familial connection, but it is left to languish.

There is a rival team of YouTube investigators in the prison, and this is one area where the disappointing screenplay does show promise. But to get to it you have to wade through too much dreck.

“Know ye all who enter here: your prison time will be 85 wasted minutes, including credits.” It will feel like a life sentence.


Director: John Patrick Tomasek
Writer: John Patrick Tomasek
Producers: An amazing number – was this a committee effort?
Cinematographers: Alex Halstead, Luis Trevino
Editor: Kyle Delso, Brandon Grode
Music: Ramesh Kumar Kannan

Marcus: Quinn Nehr
Jessie: Brynn Beveridge
José: Omar Vega, Jr.
Dan: James Matthew Fuller
Cassie: Amanda Buhs

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