HELLIONS makes Northern Premiere at GrimmFest 2015
Cult Canadian director Bruce MacDonald makes a welcome return to the horror genre with his latest film HELLIONS, a hallucinogenic Halloween shocker packed with striking imagery.
HELLIONS tells the story of 17 year old Dora (Chloe Rose), an average teenager who just wants to have fun with her boyfriend Jace (Luke Bilyk) on Halloween. Dora’s world is turned upside down when she discovers she is pregnant but her night gets a whole lot worse when when some malevolent trick-or-treaters come knocking at her door. Alone and terrorised, Dora must fight for her life against the mini-sized monsters, a feat made more difficult by the fact that her pregnancy is progressing at an extremely accelerated and unnatural rate.
Unpredictable, eerie and visually ambitious, HELLIONS is a supernatural horror that attempts to tap into the primal fears of a pregnant teenager. Like PONTYPOOL (2008), director Bruce McDonald is not afraid to approach old ideas in new ways, focusing on unnerving ambience over plot to craft a horror that is visually stunning.
McDonald has put considerable care and effort into presentation of the film and his signature avant garde flair is certainly evident in the trippy dream sequences. Colour filters are used to create the rose-tinted fever dreams and weird Halloween fantasy land, which creates quite a nice off-kilter atmosphere. The consistently inventive score by Todor Kobakov and Ian LeFeuvre is pretty decent. Sarah Millman’s costume design is also incredibly effective, with the masked children brandishing axes reminiscent of HALLOWEEN.
There is a strong central performance from Chloe Rose as pregnant teenager Dora Vogel who must fight for her life against horrific monsters. Clad in a halo-and-wings angel costume for Halloween, McDonald and screenwriter Pascal Trottier hint that the events that unfold could conceivably be stress-induced dream sequences all in Dora’s head and Rose pulls off a convincing performance. Horror fans will notice similarities in the plot to ROSEMARY’S BABY, TRICK R TREAT and CHILDREN OF THE CORN. There is also some decent support work from Robert Patrick as Corman.
HELLIONS isn’t without flaws however. The film is incredibly fast-paced with little to no breaks in the action. The continuity is out of sync at times with a bloody handprint on Dora’s stomach disappearing and reappearing at will throughout the movie. The end is also spoilt by overuse of CGI explosions which brings the film down and adds nothing to the plot.
All in all, HELLIONS may not boast the conceptual boldness of MacDonald’s zombie riff PONTYPOOL but as a hallucinogenic Halloween shocker, it certainly gets the job done.
HELLIONS made its Northern Premiere at GrimmFest 2015 on 4 October 2015.