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TIFF 2015 Review: Hellions

A defenseless heroine turns fearless, a supernatural night turns evil, and the indie horror flick Hellions turns on familiar lines.

Dora (Chloe Rose) finds herself at home in a vast empty house on Halloween, a day her quaint town celebrates with passion and verve. She still dresses up, and her angel outfit drips irony. She has, after all, just found out she is pregnant. Those around her have yet to find out.

Others have caught on though. Dora isn’t handing out candy to just any trick-or-treaters; a devious bag-headed child and other masked minions come to her door, not interested in treats, but instead her unborn baby.

Hellions utilizes standard tropes to great effect; Dora wanders a quiet, creepy house that every once in a while makes a loud noise. The kids comes to the door and retreat to the street, their scary masks starring lifelessly back at Dora and the audience. And you don’t want to know what’s in their bag.

Eventually, this film directed and written by Bruce McDonald, turns exceptionally supernatural; Dora’s world turns surreal (shot in infrared), and she is quickly far more alone and forced to take up arms. Her sometimes help is a grizzled cop played by Robert Patrick; it’s the standard role of the grounded policeman forced into a world he is ill-equipped to work.

It all falls on Rose, who offers an impressive performance in another typical role. She’s scared and defenseless in one moment, slowly evolving into tough and defiant. That change though goes in tandem with a film that reveals more and tries harder as it carries on, making it less interesting that its initial creepy premise. Nonetheless, Hellions features a strong lead and effectively unnerving images, and as an unborn baby is sought after, it’s rarely comfortable.

[star v=3]

Scene Creek

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