Dumb teens on Halloween—what could go wrong?


Hellions is probably about the millionth film to choose Halloween as the setting. Why is it that people think this holiday, which is marked by drinking and fun, can somehow be scary when in a film? The film follows Dora, who is involved in the most frightening situation imaginable—an unplanned pregnancy. Oh. Wait. It is actually that she is being alone and tormented by demon children on Halloween night. The first thing is scarier (I think). It odd as you get older and pregnancies become a celebration and less of an “oh shit” moment.

Anyway, the movie is surprisingly well filmed. The nature scenes in particular are quite nice, and the lighting, framing, and design are all quite good. The carefulness of the craft in these areas puts this film above a lot of the horror films I have seen lately. Unfortunately, the story is pretty expected. Newly pregnant woman is tormented by demon children (children again!!) and she must fight for her survival.

I would categorize this as a home invasion horror with a supernatural twist. We have all probably seen a film similar to this, and the genre can provide some good cheap scares. Unfortunately, I do not find psychotic demon kids that scary. I am pretty sure I could take one on with a baseball bat no problem. I think this is like the fourth time I have talked about fighting children in this blog, I might need help.

The color filtrations on this movie are pretty cool. It seems I am going in circles, we have a genre film that is well composed and visually pleasing. The plot is too predictable to be truly scary, but it doesn’t do anything terribly stupid either. In an odd way this film is a very strong meditation on what the horror genre is and what the visual pleasures of it can bring.

Not every scene is framed in these interesting ways, but enough of them are that I wanted to keep watching. To be fair, the kids are a little creepy, I guess (supernatural demon powers helps).

The film works very well on the visual level. Sure, the narrative is a bit worn, but the visuals do make up for it. In a lot of ways this movie represents what I love about the horror genre. It is fun, interesting, and this movie has a lot of room for deeper analysis. Unfortunately, the film isn’t scary, and the twists they throw don’t always really work. The third act is probably the weak link, and while it is entertaining it does get a little too preposterous, cheesy, and groan inducing. In a lot of ways this is a perfect horror film for the uninitiated. It is fun, somewhat creepy, and nice to look at.

I have seen on the boards that this film has been accused of being pro-life propaganda—I would disagree. I do think there is an emphasis on the importance of motherhood (something common in horror), but I don’t think it should be reduced to a singular reading. Overall, the movie is worth watching, and is a bit above a lot of the crap that has come out recently. 6/10

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