Anybody who knows me or has read much of my writing knows how much I adore the film Pontypool. That film, written by writer extraordinaire Tony Burgess and directed by Canadian national treasure Bruce McDonald was such a unique film. Brilliant writing, out of this world performances by another national treasure, Stephen McHattie as well as Lisa Houle and Georgina Reilly, and insanely meticulous and brilliant direction by McDonald made Pontypool an experience that could not be compared to anything before or since. Now eight years later McDonald returns to the horror genre with his new film, Hellions.
Teenager Dora Vogel (Chloe Rose) is having a tough Halloween. After finding out she is pregnant and wrestling with how to tell her boyfriend and family, she waits alone in her house on Halloween night for her boyfriend to arrive. But when strange and insistent trick or treaters siege her home, they seem to be after much more than candy. Now Dora must defend her body, her baby and maybe her very soul from an inexplicable and unrelenting evil.
Hellions is a very unique experience for horror fans that may be expecting a traditional Halloween night horror flick. You can never expect normal from McDonald and that is a very good thing. McDonald and writer Pascal Trottier create a surreal, nightmarish world that starts off as the world we know but slowly descends into a dreamlike state that is not only visually stunning, but also terrifying. Chloe Rose, whom fans may recognize from Degrassi: The Next Generation, is excellent here as the terrorized teen as is genre favorite Robert Patrick. Dora is a strong and brave character that faces pure evil head on even though her entire world seems to be vanishing around her. As with Pontypool, viewers looking for a realistic or typical narrative need not apply. Hellions is a waking nightmare full of bizarre nightmare imagery that is not immediately explainable or logical. Critics of the film have had issue with the direction of the second half of the film but I absolutely love the direction it goes and how Dora almost seems to sink into another realm of existence once the evil starts surrounding her. You don’t watch a Bruce McDonald film for a by the numbers story, you watch it for originality and for the unexpected. And you get lots of both in Hellions. Highly recommended.