13th Sep2019

‘Hellmington’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Nicola Correia-Damude, Michael Ironside, Yannick Bisson, Monica Parker, Gabe Grey, Allegra Fulton, Kyra Harper, Angelica Stirpe, Shannon McDonough, Adam MacDonald, James Eddy, Munro Chambers, Robin Archer, John Clifford Talbot | Written and Directed by Alex Lee Williams, Justin Hewitt-Drakulic

Hellmington-Poster

When Samantha’s father is on his death bed, she sees him for the first time in years and his dying words are ‘Katie Owens’. The name of a girl who went missing nine years earlier and has history with Samantha. She sees this as a sign of sorts, and now, as a police officer herself, she investigates the disappearance of Katie Owens.

There’s a few supernatural and horror-leaning elements to the story in Hellmington but basically it is a simple thriller horror about a missing girl. Despite the story featuring many twists and turns, with new revelations coming at what seems like every fifteen minutes the script isn’t half as engrossing as I wished it was. I didn’t ever really feel like I was totally engaged with the characters and their actions. I wouldn’t put the blame at the actors, although performances on the whole are distinctly average. Nicola Corriera-Damude is perfectly acceptable in the moody lead role but doesn’t get a whole lot to work with and the same can be said for Michael Ironside who features in a way that he normally does in genre movies nowadays – a slightly extended cameo.

But there are plenty of positives to Hellmington and none more so than its musical score. Which is surprising because it’s not something I normally notice in thriller-style movies. But the score does what all the best scores do and creates the movies atmosphere more than any other part of the film. At times eerie, while at others somehow sounding like an epic sci-fi movie. Which does sound out of place when written down but it actually works really well. It nicely builds and builds at the right moments, creating tension and just an air of importance that the movie almost doesn’t deserve.

Hellmington has some great cinematography too. My favourite style of shot in the movie is the single stationary camera shot which is used on several occasions, including one great scene involving an attack in a hotel room. Strangely, there are times when the camera-work seems very ordinary but at other times it’s superb.

The slow-burn means that the viewer will always rely on the ending to complete the movie and Hellmington’s conclusion will split the audience. At first I thought it was getting a little bit silly (and in truth it is really) but the story soon explains itself. I feel like if I watched the movie again I would pick apart plot holes based on the ending but as a ‘no think’ first watch, it was quite enjoyable and actually a little bit shocking. What at first seems predictable, soon takes an unexpected turn and I liked it for that.

Hellmington at least tries to come up with some fresh ideas but its uneven script doesn’t help its actors and there’s as much good as there is bad. Still, it’s definitely worth a watch and as this is directing duo Alex Lee Williams and Justin Hewitt-Drakulic’s first feature, they will be worth keeping an eye on.

*** 3/5

Hellmington is out now in the US from Uncork’d Entertainment.

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