Review: HELLMINGTON (2018)

Hellmington Key Art

Small towns hide big secrets. In the case of Hellmington it goes a bit deeper and darker than the usual infidelities or bodies buried in the woods. Here the family secrets take an even darker turn. And writer/directors Alex Lee Williams and Justin Hewitt-Drakulic suggest that the past, like the dead, are best left buried.

Sam Woodhouse (Nicola Correia-Damude, Shadowhunters) is under a lot of pressure, both from her job as a police detective and from her father’s failing health. When her uncle (Michael Ironside, The Convent, The Harrowing) calls to tell her he’s on his last legs she comes home just in time for him to pass. But not before saying the name of a girl who vanished years ago, Katie Owens (Angelica Stirpe).

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Curious why that name would be his last utterance she digs into the very cold case. With the help of the last cop to take the case on, Detective Khan (Gabe Grey) and an occult expert/taxidermist Professor Freeborn (Yannick Bisson, Murdoch Mysteries, Another WolfCop) she reopens the investigation. Starting with the chief suspect, Katie’s boyfriend Brad (Munro Chambers, Knuckleball, Harpoon). However just when it seems she’s making progress, another secret is revealed. One that connects her father, and herself, to the missing girl.

Hellmington quickly jumps down a rabbit hole into a world of secret symbols and bizarre figures. But it stays structured as a mystery to ground itself in the real world. This isn’t the first film to take that approach. Think Angel Heart or even The Wicker Man, but it’s still rare enough to make a nice change of pace.

Unfortunately, the heavy use of flashback telegraphs a couple of plot points. But Hellmington still manages to go in some unexpected directions. Not necessarily good or logical directions, but unexpected ones. It’s the kind of situation where you know the general direction things are going in. But the ultimate destination has you asking how you got there. Asking a lot of questions actually.

Hellmington is another film that’s worth a watch even if it’s nothing great. It’s good enough to hold the attention and deliver a few scares along the way. But it won’t have you anticipating something new from its makers either. And while I’m glad it isn’t awful, I do wish a few more films would make me sit up and take notice again.

Uncork’d Entertainment will release Hellmington on VOD and DVD September 10th. You can check the Facebook page for any updates.

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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