An over the hill fighter has to step in the ring one last time for the fight of their life. Any action fan has seen that plot used to the point where it’s beyond a cliché. Even having a loved one’s life on the line doesn’t make it any less overdone. HellKat however does have a new twist, the tournament is in Hell and not all of the fighters are human.
Katrina ‘HellKat’ Bash (Sarah T. Cohen, Witches of Amityville Academy, Little Necro Red) has just gotten knocked the fuck out and now sits in her hotel room chain-smoking. In the morning she hits the road, we don’t know where she’s going but it doesn’t matter because her car breaks down. She gets a ride from Jimmy (Ryan Davies, Don’t Speak) who gives her a long, bizarre sermon that mixes God, the prosperity gospel AR-15s and American eagles. He also points out a scar on Kat’s neck she doesn’t seem to know she had. Unsurprisingly he turns out to be a demon.
Ten minutes into HellKat and I was confused as hell. This is an action film, but we only hear her fight described by the commentators. Her car is a British right-hand drive vehicle, but she drives on the American side of the road and doesn’t have a license plate. Jimmy has an American accent, drives a big American station wagon but has British plates on it. And his religious spiel sounds like a demented version of a US TV preacher.
When she gets to the train station there’s a departure notice for Phoenix and she has a wad of dollars so I’m assuming it’s supposed to be set in the US, despite her car, Jimmy’s plates and the ring announcers’ accents. And then there’s the whole issue of an MMA fighter who constantly has a cigarette in their mouth.
While chatting with a bartender (Adrian Bouchet, Cupid, Monster Island), she gets on the wrong side of Viper (AJ Blackwell, Black Ops, The Mermaid’s Curse). He gets shot in the head and walks away, she goes outside and notices there are two moons in the sky. That scar was just what you thought it was and this is Hell.
HellKat’s script was the work of two writers, Michele Pacitto (Monster Force Zero, The Jurassic Dead) and Jordan Rockwell. It was filmed by three directors Scott Jeffrey (The Bad Nun, Bats: The Awakening), Rebecca Matthews (Pet Graveyard, The Candy Witch) and action director Michael Hoad. The result feels like a troubled film that went through rewrites and reshoots but still couldn’t be salvaged.
Jeffery and Matthews both have extremely mixed track records as directors. Both of the films I’ve seen from Pacitto on the other hand have at least been fun to watch. The film’s obvious lack of budget certainly doesn’t help matters. Hell and its arena look like the basement of a rundown apartment building. Or maybe a school in a bad neighbourhood. There wasn’t even enough money to have an audience for the brawls.
There is some nice practical makeup work on display in HellKat. They’re nice but it’s being sold as an action film more than a horror film, the press release compares it to Mortal Kombat, so they’re secondary to the action scenes. And the fight scenes, while not horrible, are never better than average. The choreography is convincing enough. Action director Michael Hoad learned well from his work as a stuntman on the likes of The Mummy and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker. But the fights lack any real flair or spark. Certainly, nothing to make it worth sitting through the film’s first half.
Uncork’d Entertainment will release HellKat on DVD and Digital on February 2nd. You can check their Facebook page for details.