Saturday 19 March 2022

REVIEW: Hellbender (2022) Starring Zelda Adams, Toby Poser, Lulu Adams & John Adams

Review by Jon Donnis
In recent years Shudder has really stepped out of the shadows releasing one great horror film after another. Hellbender is the latest addition to the ever-growing catalog.

Zelda Adams plays 16-year-old Izzy, a young woman who lives a quiet existence on a mountain with her super protective mother (Toby Poser). She knows nothing outside of what her mother has taught her and is home schooled due to an auto-immune disease which leaves her open to infection.

Throw in the fact that Izzy and her mother are supernatural witches called Hellbenders, who live off of moss and seed cones, and reproduce asexually, and you have an interesting dynamic.

Izzy and her mom pass the time with their little private metal band, Izzy on Drums and her mom on Bass. They sing your typical metal songs about the end of the world, and killing people.

Izzy's mom has this great ability, she can go full Thanos and turn people to dust, as happens to a stranger (John Adams) who gets lost and comes across them.

One day lonely Izzy is exploring the mountains and comes across another teenage girl called Amber (Lulu Adams). She is the niece of the stranger who Izzy's mother turned to dust. Izzy is invited to a party and meets some other teenagers, as part of a game Izzy drinks a spirit with a worm in it. Now because Izzy is a witch, consuming any life form feeds her powers, which her mother has been supressing, hence the seed cones and moss.

Before you know it, Izzy is eating people, and growing in power. This is what happens when you stop being a vegan!

This is a really trippy horror film, made on a small budget, the actors are all related, and you can tell the film was made with love, despite the disturbing story.

The Good
Another decent horror film from Shudder, and if you are a fan of horror and want to see something a bit different, then Hellbender is one you should check out.

The Bad
The film can feel a bit disjointed at times.

I am a horror fan, and Shudder once again have delivered.
I score Hellbender a strong 8/10