Despite the title, Hell Girl is not a cash in on the Hellboy reboot. Between the retitling, (it was shot as Depraved, no relation to Larry Fessenden’s film) and it’s from ITN who just gave us the similarly re-titled Alien Domicile 2: Lot 24 it’s an understandable mistake. But no, it’s just another celebrity ghost hunters end up in over their heads film.
Tyler (Greg Gastelum) and his Ghost Gang are famous if controversial paranormal investigators. They’ve been hired by Jebediah (Tom Sizemore, Black Wake, The Litch) to look into the haunting of his bar. However, they certainly seem to be more interested in the spirits behind the bar than anything supernatural. Except for Tyler who almost immediately beds the rather strange Laura (Tara Westwood), a local who seems to know a bit too much about the haunting.
A guy looking to expose them as frauds meet a nasty end at the hands of a strange little girl. Aiden (Michael Peter Harrison, The Axiom) has a door suddenly slam shut on his hand. Lindsay (Kherington Payne) hears a strange voice in the woods saying it misses her. And then it really gets weird. The ghostly girl may or may not be Charity (Masha Malinina), who’s gone missing. Nikki (Lauren Compton, Attack Of The Killer Donuts, Killer Camera Monsters) turns up dead.
To its credit, Hell Girl does manage to bring some original ideas to this well-worn plot. The connection between Lindsay and the entity is different from what we usually get. The haunting itself, and what’s behind it, also have a few interesting twists among the familiar. It’s not much but it was enough to at least keep me watching.
The problem is however, there’s not a lot done with any of it until near the end. Brought into play sooner, and explained a bit better, these details could have made a fairly interesting film. Instead, Hell Girl is just a watchable one. It doesn’t help that what should be one of its best scenes is ruined by the mine shaft being a poorly decorated set.
Writer/director Lawrence Riggins is best known for action films. He did, however, co-write the Jean-Claude Van Damme/Michael Rooker film Replicant which involved a cloned serial killer. At times he seems to lack a feel for the genre, staging supernatural occurrences as if they were a fight scene.
If you’re not totally burnt out on ghost hunter films Hell Girl should be an OK watch. Otherwise, you’re probably better off grabbing something else.
Hell Girl is available from ITN