I love love love movies that take place on or around Halloween. Most horror fans probably feel the same way, but it’s my favorite holiday and because of that there’s a special joy I get when a movie uses Halloween as a setting. Seeing the costumes and the decorations and others celebrating a day I love is a real treat. No matter how many movies I’ve seen that take place on Halloween, I’m constantly looking for new ones to add to the October rotation. I am very happy to say that Hellions absolutely belongs on everyone’s mandatory October watch list.
Hellions is the newest film from Canadian director Bruce McDonald (Pontypool). Chloe Rose stars as Dora, your fairly typical 17-year-old. She dresses in a lot of black, in a fashion I suppose kids today would say is Goth. I wouldn’t say it’s Goth, but she has that Hot Topic look. There’s actually a great scene with her early on in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. Its Halloween day and a little girl in a Halloween costume is waiting next to her. Dora compliments the girl’s costume and then the little girl says, “I like your costume as well.” Puzzled, Dora informs the girl that she’s not wearing a costume. This was cute, funny scene, in a movie that is otherwise quite dark.
Once Dora sees the doctor (Rossif Sutherland) she learns that she’s pregnant. She’s completely stunned by the news. She can’t believe it. There’s no way she could possibly be pregnant. She’s only had sex with her boyfriend Jace (Luke Bilyk) once. But hey, once is all it takes!
Back at home her little brother Remi (Peter DaCunha) is getting ready to head out for an exciting night of trick-or-treating with their mother (Rachel Wilson). Dora is supposed to go to a Halloween party but given her recent pregnancy development she doesn’t much feel like partying. She decides to stay home but changes her mind after he mother convinces her to enjoy her youth.
Dora gets dressed, calls up her boyfriend and waits for him to arrive. As she’s waiting a couple of trick-or-treaters knock on the door. These kids have incredibly creepy, old timey costumes. These are like the type of costumes you see in old Halloween pictures from the 1930’s. One kid is wearing a metal bucket on his head and the other has a canvas, Scarecrow-like sack. These little creeps have no manners as they refuse to say trick-or-treat, but Dora still gives them candy.
Some more times passes. Dora’s boyfriend never shows up, so she calls repeatedly but gets nothing. The trick-or-treaters come back and things begin to get really weird. These little freaks want Dora, and more specifically want the baby in her tummy and they’ll do anything to get it. The movie then becomes a battle between Dora and these freaky kids.
Hellions is incredibly scary. McDonald does a terrific job building the tension and suspense early on. I was on the edge of my seat just waiting for something terrible to happen to Dora. I literally had to get up and turn some lights on because it freaked me out that bad. Major kudos to McDonald and crew for being able to accomplish that.
The film also has a really cool style. About halfway through the film, when shit really begins to get real and pick up, the color filter shifts. I’m not sure it goes to full on sepia or something similar, but it sorts of takes the movie into this dream-like world. It’s a really nice touch and helps the movie start to mess with your mind. There is also one superb shot of Dora running with the moon in the background with an orange sky. It’s beautiful and reminded me of the scene Halloween III: Season of the Witch with trick-or-treaters from around the world out and about.
My one complaint is the story isn’t completely coherent. I can’t tell you what was real or what was fake. Ultimately I’m not even sure why these kiddie creatures want Dora’s baby. There are some references to some history these creatures have with this small town, but nothing is really that clear. I think this actually makes me appreciate Hellions even more. The story isn’t that tight or clear and yet I still loved this movie.
Hellions is scary and nails the Halloween vibe. Remember this title – when October 2016 rolls around you’ll want to give it a watch.
Hellions is now out on Blu-ray from Scream Factory.