Thursday, September 2, 2021

Hellbender - Fantasia 2021 Movie Review

The Movie: Hellbender

The Director: John Adams, Zelda Adams, Toby Poser

The Cast: Zelda Adams, Toby Poser, Lulu Adams, John Adams

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

The Review:
If you are a horror fan and you have not heard of the Adams family, no not that one, then I highly recommend you look into their work. The familial team of John Adams, Toby Poser, and Zelda Adams have been making waves on the indie scene for almost a decade although their breakout festival hit The Deeper You Dig really put them on the map as a formidable filmmaking team. That movie also screened at Fantasia in 2019 so I was excited to see Hellbender on the list of selections for this year's festival.

This movie carries over the dark, brooding style of their previous film although the subject matter this time around is on witchcraft versus the paranormal so we get a fresh new experience within their world. I love how the focus is on the storytelling and they just dive right in without feeling like the audience needs to be hand held or over informed by excessive exposition. It's nice to just sit back and allow the storytellers to go in depth into their craft without relying on them ore common tricks and tropes of the trade, they just draw you in with good, quality content.

While the movie maintains an indie feel to it, it also shows a bit more polish than their previous film and the effects work is just fantastic and very effective. The first and second acts of the film are very quiet although still engaging and there are just a few teases about what witches in this movie might be capable of and then the third act hits, the floodgate are opened, and I was like yes, this is what I was hoping for. By no means does it become an effects laden extravaganza, but what we do get is very impressive and a huge payoff for allowing them to draw you in slowly.

The Verdict:
Hellbender is a mind bending journey and is another win for this filmmaking family and should be seen as an example for exactly how these types of movies should be made. Great story telling, visuals and cinematography that is all very intentional and purposeful, and characters you really care about. Now I can't wait to see what the Adams family might have in store next. I'm here for all of it!

To keep track of all my reviews and festival coverage please go to: TwoOhSix at Fantasia 2021.

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