Reviewed out of Sundance by Fred Topel
Last year, Aaron Paul had a movie at Sundance called Hellion. I never saw it, but I assume Hellions is the sequel because that’s the rules. When you pluralize the title, it’s the sequel in which there are even more Hellions than the first film!
Dora (Chloe Rose) is home alone on Halloween. When three kids show up at her door in masks, she thinks they are regular trick or treaters. Despite Dora giving them candy, they come back to keep terrorizing her. At first it’s normal stuff like egging and pumpkin smashing, but it evolves into a much stranger assault from demons who clearly have supernatural powers.
First of all, the three masks look way better than anything from Halloween: Season of the Witch, so in your face, 1982’s Halloween III. They are clearly the work of prosthetic craftsman. If they were available for purchase in stores, they could cost more than kids or their parents could afford, so that might be the first indicator that these are not regular kids.
Hellions gradually transitions into nightmare logic, where the rules of time and space don’t apply. The color shifts to sepia, we see kaleidoscope imagery, and Dora ends up in a completely strange world for the climax. Editing even changes the logic of continuity. The lack of logic is always the scariest part of nightmares anyway, that you can’t even count on basic physics to apply, so it’s a good approach to the film’s horror.
That makes Hellions certainly unsettling, if not terrifying. If Halloween III were more like Hellions it could’ve worked. It delivers on the promise of kids terrorizing adults. Dora is an older teenager, but the Officer Corman (Robert Patrick) comes to her aid and he’s not much help against them either.
Director Bruce McDonald elevates his craft exponentially. Where Pontypool dealt with an auditory fear, Hellions allows him to manipulate all of our senses. It is a promising debut from first time feature writer Pascal Trottier, taking logic out of the equation. While maybe not as memorable as some of the other Sundance creature features, Hellions will still give you a good scare when you’re able to see it.