Hellbender (2021)

Hellbender (2021) MOVIE DETAILS
Name: Hellbender
Year: 2021
Country: USA
Director: John Adams, Zelda Adams, Toby Poser
Main cast: Zelda Adams, Toby Poser, Lulu Adams, John Adams
Runtime: 86 minutes
Production company: Wonder Wheel Productions
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The family of filmmakers formed by parents Toby Poser and John Adams, and daughters Zelda Adams and Lulu Adams, are a weird case in the world of cinema. They have a good bunch of feature films on their back created and starred mostly by the family members. Their work has been taken to numerous film festivals and now it was the turn of their latest title, Hellbender (2021), to premiere worldwide at the Fantasia International Film Festival.

I have to admit that I have never been a big fan of the Adams-Poser films, always under their banner Wonder Wheel Productions. I dig that they work on the subjects of horror and psychological thrillers, but their style of experimental cinema is not for me. I know it is not a very attractive thing to say, but I was not quite excited about watching their latest effort Hellbender (2021). Still, one must carry on with his duty, and within seconds I was already sold. The movie starts powerful, and although it remains with the minimalistic and simplistic touch the filmmakers always imprint to their productions this time the film is straight to your jugular and is designed to knock you out.

So, what is Hellbender (2021) about? Basically, it is a tender film depicting the relationship of a single mother and her teenage daughter living in a house deep in the woods. And, also, they are witches. You can call it a coming-out age film if you want. The teenage girl will discover all the powers she is capable of crafting and with the help of her mother must learn to control them. Or at least that was the plan.

And, here, the simplicity trademark of the family of filmmakers is where it works best. Most of the time what we have on the screen is the mother-daughter interaction, which has unbeatable chemistry due to the fact that they are real-life mother and daughter, but that is almost anecdotical. The movie stands strong and solid, and it’s not a family of low-budget filmmakers experimenting anymore. Hellbender (2021) has its own personality, it is an entity by itself. The script has been written with a lot of care, and the images of the woods, where most of the running time is proceeding, are a very important element in the conceiving of the visual universe of Hellbender (2021). Those arid forests where the witches probably walked around centuries ago. Also, lots of supernatural sequences populate the movie, adding more visual richness, as well as other sources of storytelling to spice up the narrative, and finally completing seducing the audience, in case someone wasn’t already hypnotized by the film.

At moments I felt like watching for the first time instant classic films like The Witch (2015) or Mandy (2018), two great examples of modern cinema where the characters and the story can’t be comprehended without the environment where they live in. Those forests that sometimes we like to call “private property” but that they belong to nature. To the trees, the rocks, the water, the insects, and the big animals, both predators or prey. And the witches belong to those woods. There they can have a happy life in equilibrium with the environment that provides the food and entertainment they need. Because, once the witch is getting mixed with other human beings, in a habitat that is not hers by nature, trouble can happen.

Even before its world premiere at Fantasia Shudder made public that they achieved the distribution rights for Hellbender (2021) for a release in early 2022. That is a great move, the film will fit perfectly in the streaming service, it is a great watch, intense, dark, and generous with the horror and the blood. And then I can have a chance to watch it again because it surely is a movie worth to re-watch as many times as possible.

Oh, and after watching Hellbender (2021) I had a tremendous urge to go to my Misfits albums collection and listen to “Mommy, Can I Go Out And Kill Tonight?”. So it was a well-done job, indeed. It worked on me.

RATE: 6/10

IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt14905650


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