Hellions is a stylish Halloween movie full of symbolism.
Hellions is a supernatural cosmic horror that has a very surreal style and is centered around Halloween, full with symbolism. It’s a nightmarish All Hallows’ Eve that combines real-life anxieties with the feast of Halloween with stylish visuals and a creepy atmosphere. It’s highly visceral in nature and it’s definitely a show don’t tell kind of a story that will not appeal to everyone. It’s an artistic movie that could play out all in the head of a young girl or a Lovecraftian nightmare come true. It has an acquired taste that approaches a coming-of-age story in a very disturbing way.
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17 Year-old Dora finds out during Halloween that she is pregnant. Instead of going to a party with her boyfriend Jace, she stays at home to think tings over, while her mother and little brother Remi go out trick or treating. Then a strange child rings the doorbell for a trick or treat, but is soon joined by other strange children who are after Dora’s unborn child. When she is attacked by the children, she calls 911 and Dr Henry, and when he arrives she is now four months pregnant, instead of four weeks. While the attacks grow more brutal and the night falls, the nightmare is truly about to begin and mixes fiction with reality in a surreal visual tale.
Why you should watch it
Hellions is a weird fiction tale of anxiety, teen troubles and this coming-of-age story is very well intertwined with the meaning and symbolism of Halloween. The story is told from Dora’s perspective. She seems a normal teen, with a boyfriend, who accidentally got pregnant. She has a good relationship with her mother and little brother, with her doctor Dr Henry and police officer Mike. In fact she’s a typical teenager, and a good girl, and has no real troubles at all. Until she finds out that she is pregnant and everything is changed in an instant.
This change comes even more explicitly with the arrival of the creepy kids who want her baby. This is shown in cinematography as well. With a pinkish coloring, that reminds of the womb, the film changes in tone and atmosphere. It suddenly feels like a surreal nightmare in which her fears come true. She’s afraid that Jace will leave her, that her mother will be mad and that Dr Henry can’t do much about what is happening to her. These fears are turned into their demises in a very disturbing way for Dora. The film is full of metaphors. The eggs, the exploding pumpkins are all symbols for her unwanted pregnancy and fertility. Halloween seems the perfect time to tell this disturbing tale of dread.
The creepy kids are well-crafted and create an unsettling atmosphere of terror and dread. They look absolutely creepy and feel as menacing as they look like, each one created and shaped with a different appearance and style, but feel very old-styled and out of this world as well. While they attack her, her house and her friends, or grown-ups who try to help her, it feels like a home invasion. But when they affect her unborn child, by putting a bloodied hand on her belly, it also becomes a body invasion. Whether or not they turned her baby into a monstrous Lovecraftian creature, of which she has nightmares or visions, for a teenager a pregnancy can feel like a body invasion all by itself.
It’s all about her inner experience, her anxieties about what will happen next, and this unfolds in a surreal nightmare that is very visual and artistically shot. With intense music, the pinkish coloring, the strange beasts, the creepy kids and their chanting, the monstrous baby and the story Mike has to tell her, transform this film into a nightmare come true. Is it a vision, or is it all real? Either way this is how it feels for Dora, how control over her life is suddenly taken over and now all alone, she doesn’t know what to do. This feeling is very claustrophobic, mentally and her visions are very dreamlike. As if she wishes it were all a dream and nothing more.
Her Halloween costume, that of a pure fairy dressed in white represents her innocence, that she hasn’t lost yet, or maybe she has. It symbolizes her character that is in big contrast with what is happening to her. This costume also creates a dark fairytale vibe, with the heroine harassed by evil, but there is no rescue. Dora is a heroine all by herself that defends herself with bravery. It’s a dire tale told with beautiful imagery and great visuals to invoke that feeling Dora lives through.
My favorite part
I do love a coming-of-age story that is packed with symbolism. Combined with cosmic horror, surreal imagery and an artistic style this is my cup of tea. With the teenage anxieties, the changes, the loss of innocence. Hellions is a great metaphor about all these things but combined with Halloween it becomes even more powerful. The film can be seen as style over substance, but there is a lot of substance in this film, with delicate topics and themes. I loved the surreal atmosphere that showed in tension, creepiness, the weird and the bizarre and great stylish cinematography.
Scare fator: ★★★☆☆
Surreal factor: ★★★★★
Originality factor: ★★★★★
Entertainment factor: ★★★★★
Cast and crew
Hellions is directed by Bruce McDonald and written by Pascal Trottier. It stars Chloe Rose (Dora Vogel), Robert Patrick (Officer Corman), Rossif Sutherland (Dr Gabe Henry), Rachel Wilson (Kate Vogel), Luke Bilyk (Jace) and Peter DaCunha (Remi Vogel).
Duration: 80 minutes. Music: Todor Kobakov, Ian LeFeuvre. Cinematography: Norayr Kasper. Edited by: Duff Smith. Produced by: Paul Lenart, Frank Siracusa. Production company: Storyteller Pictures, Whizbang Films. Distributed by: IFC Midnight.