Hellbender

Writer/Directors: Zelda Adams, John Adams, Toby Poser

What It’s About

A teen girl, Izzy, (Zelda Adams) lives a remote existence in the woods with her mother, (Toby Poser) who dotes on her, homeschools her and keeps her isolated from other people. They spend their time playing metal music and living off the land. When Izzy encounters another girl her own age she learns the true reason she’s been kept far away from others. She comes from a long line of witches, Hellbenders, and her relationship with her mother is about to get a lot more tense.

What I Thought

This was a pleasant surprise.

I have to admit I went into this movie with no expectations whatsoever and found myself staying up until 5am to finish it. What I encountered was a great little film with exceptional visuals, almost trippy in spots, great camera shots and a powerful dynamic between the two lead actresses. The reason? They are mother and daughter in real life. This is a family project. 

Another thing I enjoyed about this movie was the music. So the mother and daughter spend their idle time rocking out to metal music. At first I found it somewhat cheesy, but then the music grew on me and I feel it lent another layer to this little gem of a movie. I may still have one or two of those songs rolling around my brain.

At its heart, it’s a coming of age story. Instead of worrying about boys and puberty, Izzy is learning her abilities and strengths as a powerful witch after encountering another girl her own age accidentally (Lulu Adams). This causes a rift between Izzy and her mother. Her mother tries desperately to hold on to her daughter by teaching her how to use her powers which could ultimately result in her very own downfall. This movie ties in old folklore with a modern twist. 

Final Thoughts

5/5

A banging soundtrack, great writing, exceptional visuals and a superb atmosphere made for a fresh and unique viewing experience. It’s witchcraft done well with some fabulous horror scenes and practical effects. You’ve never seen teenage angst like this before. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, a fun and engaging watch. It took me by surprise.

Where to find it

Shudder



Photo: IMDB

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