Hellbender (2021)
February 24, 2022 8:55 AM - Subscribe

A lonely teen discovers her family's ties to witchcraft.

Currently streaming on Shudder.
posted by DirtyOldTown (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I just watched the trailer for this this morning and I am so in. How have I missed this filmmaking family? In any case, this is all in my wheelhouse. We gifted a Shudder subscription by a family friend so I know what our Sunday Night Movie this week!
posted by Kitteh at 4:01 PM on February 24, 2022

This is really fun. Much more professional than "a literal family makes their own horror feature" would lead you to expect. It has the kind of energy of true believers in horror and several cool ideas.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:12 AM on February 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Finally saw it! It was very very good.
posted by Kitteh at 4:42 PM on March 6, 2022

Yeah, we watched it tonight. It was great; honestly, it sometimes takes me a while to get past a certain kind of... vibe?... to low-budget movies*, but after the first 20 minutes or so I was immersed enough that it had pulled me in. It unrolled kinda how we were both expecting, but was well paced, well acted, and for the budget really well made.

I am thrilled to find out that H6LLB6ND6R's music is on Spotify! We were both saying during the movie that we'd be all in for an album. It's solid stuff!

*it's hard to describe what this is, but I think it has to do with decades of exposure to colour balancing and certain types of framing and editing pacing. There was a long period in the '80s when Canadian TV just felt different due to it being shot on video instead of film, and I have the same kind of "can't put my finger on it but it's not quite there" reaction to low-budget indie stuff sometimes.
posted by Shepherd at 4:54 PM on March 6, 2022 [1 favorite]

If the Adams Family's first feature The Deeper You Dig was a sort of proof of concept ("Our family made a movie with no money and it's worth seeing!") this one is an upgrade, because it doesn't need to be graded on a curve. It's just a legit fucking banger.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:14 PM on March 6, 2022 [2 favorites]

(To be accurate, TDYD wasn't their first feature, just the first one to hit with audiences to this level. Point still holds, though.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:50 AM on March 7, 2022

I really liked this, it definitely surpassed my expectations. I expected it to be "pretty cool, once you take the back-story about the film-making family into account" but it was just "pretty cool, full stop."

It pulls off the uncommon trick of switching the protagonist and antagonist, so that by the end of the movie you're rooting for the mother rather than the daughter. I also thought the effect when they are scrying, where it's an overhead shot mixed with an extreme close-up of an eye's iris, was both low-budget and extremely cool. I don't think I've seen clairvoyance depicted quite that way in any other movie, but it was very obvious what was happening without needing to explain anything. And there were a lot of other random bits, like the key in the hand, that were surprising and neat.

I hope they keep making horror movies, instead of "maturing" into Sundance indie dramedies or something.
posted by whir at 11:19 AM on March 18, 2022 [3 favorites]

This was great; one of the best horror films I've seen in a while. Fantastic story, great psychedelic trippy witchery, consistent internal logic, lots of surprises and just the right amount of gore. A fantastic little horror flick, in and out in 80 minutes. Didn't feel to me like a cheap indie at all - everything from the acting to the music to the cinematography was quality all the way.

If the Adams Family's first feature The Deeper You Dig was a sort of proof of concept ("Our family made a movie with no money and it's worth seeing!") this one is an upgrade

Yep, agreed. After loving Hellbender I watched the earlier film last night (also on AMC+/Shudder) and it's definitely a rougher, less engaging, much less tightly constructed film. Still good, with an unusual story and some decent acting, but the writing and editing isn't anywhere close to the goodness of this one.

I hope they keep making horror movies, instead of "maturing" into Sundance indie dramedies or something.

You'll be happy to read this, then:

Zelda Adams: We made four dramas first and we were having a really great time with it and went to a lot of festivals. But after a while, it was hard for them to get traction. If you didn't have a huge star in it, that was kind of tough. We just wanted to explore. I was like, "Hey, why don't we make a movie where I just, like, kill a bunch of men?" Toby was like, "Hell yeah." We created this wonderful timepiece and made our first little horror movie and it got into some horror festivals and was welcomed really nicely. Then we made "The Deeper You Dig," where Toby was included in the process. So that was our first horror movie together as a family. It was really, really fun and we just love the genre and want to stay here.
posted by mediareport at 3:24 PM on August 12, 2022 [3 favorites]

Watched this again last night with the kiddo and can confirm it continues to rule.

Kiddo loved it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:38 AM on July 21

« Older Resident Alien: Family Day...   |  Movie: Excision... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments