I tried desperately to come up with some sort of catchy and quick-witted line to open this entry with. I could not, however, come up with a satisfactory line to describe my mix of feelings about the Canadian horror film Hellions. Director Bruce McDonald makes a lot of decisions that you don’t expect to see in the horror genre that, at times, took the film to the next level and at other times left me confused and anything but scared.
The movie starts out scary enough with the announcement that our main character, Dora (Chloe Rose) is pregnant. Teen pregnancy, however, is not the most disturbing thing about this movie. It’s Halloween night, and Dora decides to stay home rather than go to a party with her boyfriend or accompany her mother and brother trick-or-treating.
I mean, would you want to go out and party it up when you’ve got to figure out how to tell your boyfriend he knocked you up?
Dora decides in the end to go to the party with her boyfriend and dresses up in an angel costume (which seems symbolically fitting, don’t you agree?) and waits for him to arrive.
Except he never shows up.
The only visits Dora gets are from some of the creepiest trick-or-treaters you will ever see, and they want a lot more than candy.
This movie, without giving too much away, left a lot to be desired in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong–McDonald plays the creepy-child card very well, and for the first half of the movie my skin was crawling. Then things get a little iffy, and he lost my faith.
I’m all for artistic films and pushing the boundaries, but there are just certain places that artistic liberties are not needed or wanted, and one of those is horror films of this type. There is a way to push the boundaries in horror, which typically include questions like: “How much blood can we get in this film without the studio labeling us NC-17 (shout out to the Evil Dead)?” or “How long do you think a person could reasonably live without his or her extremities?” or “Do you think that sewing people together to make a giant human chain will go over well?”
This movie didn’t ask those types of questions.
Granted, there was a disturbing scene of Dora hallucinating herself eating a fetus, and the children’s masks are the things of nightmares, their boundary-pushing questions seemed to be more along the lines of: “How many random and unnecessary cut scenes can we put in before our audience is so confused they’re not even sure which way is up?”
I don’t know the exact number, but I can tell you they achieved it.
I got hopelessly lost within the plot, and just when I thought they were bringing things back to some sort of sense and order, something else would happen that would confuse me even more. They would give me just enough time to get pulled back into the action and the horror, and then I’d fall back out of it, or rather be pushed.
As someone who fancies herself an amateur writer, I can tell you one thing I’ve learned that remains true in every genre: There has to be rules.
It doesn’t matter if it’s fantasy or sci-fi or horror; the world you are creating has to have rules and parameters so that your audience can understand what the conflict is. Without rules there is no way of understanding motivation.
Overall, if you aren’t already a big horror fan, don’t waste your time on this film. If you’re a film buff who loves cinematography or a horror fan who just loves to watch any and everything, it might be worth one watch through.
What do you think about horror films that get a little too artsy? Do you think that it takes away from the purpose of a horror film?
Hellions IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3305844/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Hellions Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellions_(film)
Hellions Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUwxpVhpFHU