Hey gang, happy day 22 of my #31DaysOfHorror. Hard to believe we are already here isn’t it? Anyways, I hope you have all gone and checked out The Black Tapes Podcast, and gotten into their new show, Tanis. Anyways, thank you again, so much, for continuing to read these reviews. It really does mean a lot that even one person reads this, please leave comments and share these if you like them. Lets get to another Canadian flick, Hellions.
A teenager must survive a Halloween night from Hell when malevolent trick-or-treaters come knocking at her door.
I really do always root for Canadian horror movies, despite what you might think from a number of my reviews. From the trailer, I was wary of this movie, but I decided to give it a shot anyways. Director, Bruce Macdonald has previously done two movies that I quite liked, Pontypool and The Tracey Fragments, so his involvement in this one did add some hope. I haven’t seen much from the writer of this film, Pascal Trottier, but he did write an episode of the program Darknet, which is a great show. Unfortunately, this movie doesn’t quite live up to the work that these two are both more than capable of, which was a bit of a surprise and a disappointment, especially considering the beginning third or so of this movie.
Hellions starts out strong, it is well shot, and the performance from Chloe Rose (Degrassi: The Next Generation) is pretty good. She definitely brings her “typical teen girl” performance that, I assume, is all over the Degrassi series, but it works for the movie, and I don’t have much in the way of complaints with her performance. The first chunk of the movie, as I mentioned, looks great and the first encounters with the evil children are pretty unsettling. Hell, you even get to enjoy a little Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day), and who doesn’t like that? However, the movie takes a sudden turn, and places a pink filter over the whole movie, one that does not leave until it ends.
It’s once this pink filter appears that the movie becomes a jumbled, confusing mess. It’s unclear whether our main character has gone to some other dimension, or really what the significance of the new filter is supposed to be. Where you could have had a clear, and creepy film in which children torment a pregnant 17 year old girl, and attempt to steal her unborn child, you instead have a weak, bordering-on-pretentious, movie that seems to grasp for a Lynchian feel, without really knowing what exactly that is. You are introduced to a sub plot of Robert Patrick and his wife being hunted by these children, and all sorts of semi-creepy images all culminating in, well, Rose’s character waking up in the hospital.
The reveal of the movie essentially sucks the wind out of it’s sails in one big swoop, and it’s too bad. The way it ends makes me wonder if perhaps the pink filter was added because someone, somewhere, took issue with the movie taking place in reality. I would love a little bit of insight in that, because as it is, the ending has no edge or teeth and feels like the story you’ve been told was just a lie. Not in the “it’s only a movie” way, but in a way that only a horror movie can feel like a lie. I won’t spoil it specifically, but if you’ve seen the movie you might know what I’m talking about.
All in all, the movie falls flat. It opens pretty well, and I was feeling rather enthusiastic to see what happened next, but I can’t recommend the first bit of a movie. It’s a confusing mess, with some genuinely creepy child-costumes, but doesn’t really go much farther than that, and the persistant pink filter is absurd and only causes more confusion than the movie warrants. It’s one of those times when keeping it really simple would have done a whole lot more for it.