Reviewed by: Luke Shaw

"There isn’t anything particularly wrong with the direction, which is solid horror fare, but it’s trying to animate a cadaver of a script."

Bruce McDonald’s Pontypool was a surprising, low key horror flick with a keen eye for making the most out of a conservative premise and only a handful of actors. It was a novel high concept adapted into an economic, compelling movie that stands above the usual zombie dreck. It’s a shame then that Hellions is a wholly derivative and utterly forgettable from a director who has shown promise.

Dora lives in a town famed for its pumpkin crop, and come Halloween she finds that she is four weeks pregnant with the child of a guy her mother displays a routinely maternal dislike for. Eschewing a night of teenage fun, she stays at home where she is besieged by grisly costumed children, seemingly obsessed with her prenatal child. Dressed in the symbolic white of a slasher queen, and decked out in no-nonsense Docs, Chloe Rose makes the most of a limp, uninspired script. Even a fleeting appearance by Robert Patrick as a cop with a distaste for Halloween fails to lend any spice.

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This is Rosemary’s Baby via Children Of The Corn, but it fails to elicit anything other than a stifled yawn. If a premise such as “horror on Halloween night” is going to be used, then there should be slatherings of claret and a minimal reliance on rote sing-song menace. Nothing seems to happen for any good reason either. The devilish little tots appear to be able to manipulate time and space at one stroke of the clock, and then ponderously creep down stairs with all the malevolence of a tickle me Elmo the next.

Of course, the baby is growing by the second and the creepy half-pints want to adopt it as their own under a blood moon, providing a much needed stab at ambiance - albeit via a lacklustre digital filter. Said moon only leads to the whole film appearing as if it’s been colourised by someone under the influence of rose-tinted specs. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with the direction, which is solid horror fare, but it’s trying to animate a cadaver of a script that has no discernable pulse.

There’s unforgivable padding through repetition of dreary footage, and a heavily edited sequence which sees our heroine lost in a kaleidoscope dreamscape, shortly before scores of pumpkins spontaneously combust in a field. It’s hard to have any qualms with someone wanting to use the old devil sprog trope as a catalyst for a horror film, but delivering something so utterly taupe is the only supernatural occurrence here. This could have been entertaining schlock, or something even slightly sinister, but instead the only threat here is death by hellish amounts of boredom.

Reviewed on: 17 Jun 2015
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A young pregnant woman is threatened by malignant children.

Director: Bruce McDonald

Writer: Pascal Trottier

Starring: Robert Patrick, Rossif Sutherland, Luke Bilyk, Rachel Wilson, Peter DaCunha, Chloe Rose, Sydney Cross, Adelaide Humphreys, Joe Silvaggio, Karlo William, Nicholas Craig, Stephanie Fonceca, Aliyah Jhirad, Emir Hirad Mokhtarieh

Year: 2014

Runtime: 80 minutes

Country: Canada

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