- horror reviews - MOH 2022


IMDb Info

Release Year: 2021
Runtime: 1h 26m
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre Tags: Horror
Plot Summary: A lonely teen discovers her family's ties to witchcraft.

Poster - Title Card rating: notes: An ultra-low budget gem, and a family affair. It's amazing what three skilled people, plus an FX person, can accomplish. A bare-bones coming of age story that keeps the plotting tight and doesn't outstay its welcome. Great cinematography and dream sequences that look better than other movies with far higher budgets.

Outside Reviews:

Brian Tallerico
3 out of 4 stars -

Horror has always been a home for DIY filmmaking. There's something magical about a group of like-minded people who go into the woods and come out with a work of art. Sometimes it's "The Evil Dead" or "Last House on the Left." These films are acts of rebellious expression, reclamations of the genre from a studio system that has often misunderstood it. One of the most fascinating horror DIY collectives in recent years has been the Adams family (not Morticia and Gomez). An upstate New York family who writes, directs, stars, and does just about everything else in their movies, the Adams clan broke through with "The Deeper You Dig," a surreal, must-see flick that's now on Shudder. They returned to fests in 2021 with "Hellbender," which lands on the streaming service today and continues their upward trajectory. These folks make daring, confident genre films, and they're only getting better.

Katie Rife
Grade: B - A real-life mother and daughter bond over blood magic in the occult horror film Hellbender

Still, this remains an obviously low-budget production, and the dearth of resources is most evident in the sound mix and visual effects. Even as the Adams family climbs the ladder from DIY to low-budget filmmaking, the price of true independence is that the CGI isn't as slick as in pricier projects. Then again, even expensive CGI ages badly, so who cares? Hellbender is also pretty slim, with performance scenes padding out its short runtime. But, again, would you rather have 83 potent minutes or 123 lackluster ones?