Edinburgh International Film Festival

Hellions (2015)

Starring: Chloe Rose, Rossif Sutherland, Rachel Wilson, Peter DaCunha, Luke Bilyk, Robert Patrick

Directed by: Bruce McDonald

Rating: 1 2 3

Chloe Rose as Dora in HellionsWhen 17-year-old Dora (Joss Stone ĺookalike Chloe Rose) discovers she's pregnant, she feels as if her world has gone to hell. But it's Hallowe'en in a sleepy rural town whose entire income appears to rest on pumpkin-growing, and for Dora, hell has only just begun...

Like Rosemary's Baby directed by John Carpenter – or even David Cronenberg – Hellions is a psychedelic trip inside the mind of a seriously disturbed young woman, the classic masked intruder trope employed mirroring her sense of personal invasion by the unwanted child growing within her. The initial scenes expertly convey a sense of unease, the unnamed town seeming friendly enough, yet also curiously off-kilter. Surly costumed children poke at the decaying corpse of a raccoon; a concerned family doctor sports plastic elf ears; there are way too many pumpkins everywhere. And as the film progresses, the cyclical narrative, over-saturated palate, booming Goblin-esque soundtrack sand blatant disregard for continuity all conspire to create a nightmarish sense of threat and confusion that's as discomforting as it's vaguely distasteful. Expectant mothers, trust me, you need this film about as much as you need The Brood or Alien...

But to be honest, the jury's out as to whether I really liked Hellions. Disjointed and at times a little too obvious (another dream? really?), like its heroine it's at times a bit of a mess. But the disfigured, masked Hellion creatures who attack Dora are a triumph of insidious creepiness, and go some way to mitigate the regular bouts of 'let's go into the cellar' stupidity. So with 5 out of 5 for the costume designers but 2 out of 5 for the plot, it's not so much a hell yeah for Hellions as a hey ho...

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