Hellbender (Movie Review)

Hellbender (Movie Review)

The family that slays together, stays together in witchcraft Horror Hellbender – a film that is not only about family ties, but was also made by a filmmaking family.

The Adams family are a New York based family who not only direct their own films, but also write them, star in them and pretty much take on every other role involved in the filmmaking process as well. In Hellbender, co-directed by Toby Posner (The Shoot 2014, Halfway to Zen 2016) and John Adams (Knuckle Jack 2014, The Shoot 2014), a nameless mother and her daughter Izzy (Zelda Adams: Halfway to Zen 2014, The Hatred 2018) live a solitary life in their small, sheltered house in the woods. To pass the time, Izzy and her mother play together in a Punk band named H6LLB6ND6R, but Izzy longs for more freedom unaware that her mother is hiding dark secrets from her.

Hellbender still


A Shudder Original Film which premieres exclusively on Thursday, February 24, 2022, Hellbender is a trippy, folklore coming of age tale that brings a whole new meaning to growing pains. Being a teenager with an overly protective mother may seem difficult enough, but when you discover that you and your mother have an insatiable appetite for something a lot more bloody, then suddenly the problem of your mother not giving you enough freedom pales in comparison.

The family element of Hellbender is undoubtedly its greatest strength. Real life mother and daughter duo Toby Posner and Zelda Adams’ scenes feel natural, and it is obvious that there is real passion behind this family project. The Adams family’s filmmaking aspirations appear to grow with each new production, and it will be really exciting to see what they come up with next.

Hellbender still

Filmmaking on a microbudget can be very difficult and sometimes the film’s financial restraints are more obvious than other times. The film opens with a creepy and intense scene that is somehow never quite matched up to, and consequently its first act feels like Hellbender’s strongest. All the bare bones are here for a good film, but the meat on the bones is a little sparse. Hellbender has an intriguing premise and a brilliant production story, but the story does feel slightly stretched for a feature running time.

Nevertheless, Hellbender is a film that will appeal to those with an interest in the occult and shows that the Adams family is certainly one worth keeping your eye on for the future. For this Cryptic Rock gives it 3 out of 5 stars.


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Cara McWilliam
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