Creepy supernatural thriller finds teen Leah (Nicole Muñoz) drawn into the occult after the death of her father. She and her mom (Laurie Holden) aren’t getting along, especially when her mother decides to sell the family house and move them out and away from Leah’s school and Goth friends. When at their new woods-set home, her mother lashes out at her during an argument and an angry Leah conducts an occult ritual evoking the dark spirit, Pyewacket, to kill her mom. Soon Leah learns the meaning of “be careful what you wish for” as something dark and evil has entered their home with malevolent intent.
This is a subtle and spooky as hell flick and certainly one of the best horrors of the year. Written and directed by Adam MacDonald (Backcountry) this is a chilling tale that shows that you don’t need jump scares or over-the-top gore to make an effective horror film. MacDonald bathes his film in atmosphere and uses his camera to evoke a pervading sense of dread, even in broad daylight. He creates an already tense situation as both Leah and her mom, are each handling the death of Leah’s dad in different ways and not very well. There is friction and while Leah turns to dark music and an interest in the occult, her mom wants to have a ‘fresh start’ away from anything connected to him. This leads to some harsh words in their remote new home and Leah to dabble in something she isn’t prepared to deal with. Soon there are dark shadows lurking about the house and a visit from Leah’s tough, Goth girlfriend, Janice (Hellion’s Chloe Rose) has the girl leaving the house a terrified mess. As creepy as it is thus far, MacDonald saves the best for last with a truly unnerving final act as Leah attempts to send back what she’s conjured and let’s just say the malevolent spirit has other plans. MacDonald doesn’t resort to hokey FX or overused tropes, he simply serves up some nerve wracking moments with simple skilled camera work and some wonderful emoting from leading lady Muñoz. MacDonald, as with Backcountry , also knows how to make woods look ominous which adds to the atmosphere. And while ultimately we know where this story is headed, it’s still a shocking and unsettling finale that perfectly punctuates a very creepy film.
The small cast is very effective. As stated, Nicole Muñoz is very good as the emotionally wounded Leah. She creates a likable yet, troubled young woman who tries to sate her grief with death related interests. The only person she should be able to turn to for support is the one she is having the most problems with. Once she performs the ritual and awakens something, she gives us a very scared young girl with nowhere to run. Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead) is excellent as her equally troubled mom. She lashes out at Leah one minute, for simply reminding her of her husband and tries to be there for her daughter the next. The two actresses work well together creating a very dysfunctional dynamic between the two that makes this flick work. Rounding out the small cast is Chloe Rose as her friend Janice who has a traumatic sleepover at Leah’s new home and Eric Osbourne as Aaron, a boy interested in Leah.
Adam MacDonald has gone back to basics and made a very spooky, unnerving, yet down to earth horror movie. He wisely makes his scares very grounded and the fact that they are not presented in a theatrical and over-the-top manner makes them more realistic and thus more frightening. His leading ladies work well together in creating a fractured and troubled relationship between the mother and daughter, based on two completely different methods of mourning. Add to that a young girl delving into dark forces she doesn’t completely understand and certainly can’t control and you have a supernatural bone chiller that is refreshingly driven on what really makes a true horror film work…fear. This one will be on my best of the year list for sure.
Rated 3 and 1/2 balls of red yarn.
Haley Bennett alone against a vicious cult in Kristy
MONSTERZERO NJ’S 12 RECENT HORRORS/THRILLERS WITH ASS-KICKING HEROINES!
Who doesn’t love a good final girl!? Most horror fans do! So, here are twelve recent horrors/thrillers where our heroines made an especially strong impact kicking the ass of evil!
Click on the titles here to go to the review page for the corresponding movie!
3.Bound To Vengeance
8.All I Need
Tina Ivlev turns the tables on female traffickers in Bound To Vengeance
This newest installment of Halloween Hotties features three relatively new faces in horror that made quite an impression in their maiden appearances. These three actresses made for memorable final girls in their respective horror/thrillers and we can only hope they will grace the horror genre again and soon!
(Click on the highlighted links to read a review of the film’s that our Halloween Hotties have appeared in)
#1 CHLOE ROSE!
Canadian actress Chloe Rose made for quite a resourceful and strong-willed heroine as Dora Vogel in Bruce McDonald’s Halloween set fright flick Hellions. The young actress made quite an impression as a pregnant teen who must fend off a pack of demonic little fiends, who want her unborn child. In interviews to promote the film, she has expressed her interest in returning to the horror genre and we sure hope her wish comes true…soon!
#2 ALI COBRIN!
Aside from a small role in Joe Dante’s teen friendly horror The Hole, Girlhouse is Ali Cobrin’s first time doing final girl duty and she pulls it off with flying colors! She gives us sweet girl-next-door Kylie who is forced to work at the steamy Girlhouse to earn money for college. When the girls come under attack from the deranged Loverboy (Slain), she proves more than a match for the vicious masked killer! Miss Cobrin has acted in a number of projects since this cool slasher and hopefully another horror role is awaiting this beautiful and talented lady!
#3 TINA IVLEV!
While Bound To Vengeance isn’t technically a horror flick, there was enough gore and intensity in this vicious crime thriller to pass as one. Russian born actress Tina Ivlev made a big splash with her dynamite performance as a young girl kidnaped and held prisoner by a group of deviants. Her Eve not only breaks free and goes on a quest for revenge, but also sets out to free the sleazy group’s other hostages…and she does so with bullets and blood flying! She’s a busy actress and hopefully that will include more horror roles in the near future!
And don’t forget to check out our previous Halloween Hotties focusing on, Maika Monroe, Addison Timlin, Melanie Papalia, Briana Evigan, Katrina Bowden, Alexandra Daddario, Katie Featherston, Katharine Isabelle, Amber Heard and Danielle Harris! (just click on their names to go to their pages or head over to the Halloween Hotties listings!)
MONSTERZERO NJ’S HALLOWEEN HOTTIE OF 2015…MAIKA MONROE!
This newest installment of Halloween Hotties features our Halloween Hottie Of 2015, the beautiful and very talented Maika Monroe, who easily earns this title by appearing in, not one, but two horror/thrillers this year! Now true, these films initially made their presence known at festivals in 2014, but it was not until 2015 that I saw Adam Wingard’s The Guest on home media and David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows in it’s limited theatrical release.
(Click on the highlighted links or on the movie posters to read a review of the film’s that have earned her Halloween Hottie of 2015!)
One of the best horror films of the year and one that launched it’s talented leading lady into the spotlight! Monroe plays Jay Height, a young college girl from suburban Detroit who is cursed with some sort of malicious entity through sexual intercourse. This fiend is only visible to those it targets and can assume the shape of anyone it chooses. While it can be passed to someone else in the same manner, noble Jay refuses to put another in harm’s way and thus begins a cat and mouse chase between supernatural terror and the brave young woman. Monroe made quite an impressive heroine in a very chilling film and we hope she returns to the horror genre soon.
Click HERE to read our in-depth comparison to John Carpenter’s classic masterpiece Halloween!
Maika Monroe as It Follows‘ stalked heroine, Jay Height!
And her disturbing second feature…
While The Guest is not strictly a horror film, it is a blood-soaked thriller that does take place at Halloween and has enough horror touches and trappings to earn it special consideration. In the film, Maika plays Anna a young woman who has recently lost her brother, Caleb in the armed services. When a mysterious stranger, David (Dan Stevens) shows up at her family’s door claiming to be a friend of Caleb’s, they welcome him in with open arms. David isn’t what he seems, though and when bodies start piling up, Anna is the only one who realizes something is wrong with their guest and puts her life on the line to stop him.
As another strong heroine, Maika Monroe as The Guest‘s Anna Peterson!
Maika Monroe will be returning to genre screens soon in two alien invasion flicks, the teen-centric The Fifth Wave and the long-awaited sequel Independence Day: Resurgence…for now, we can enjoy this talented young lady in two horror/thrillers that make her a more than worthy Halloween Hottie Of 2015!
HALLOWEEN HOTTIE OF 2015 RUNNER-UP…CHLOE ROSE!
This year I have a runner-up who seriously challenged Miss Monroe for her title. Chloe Rose made for quite a resourceful and strong-willed heroine as Dora Vogel in Bruce McDonald’s Halloween set fright flick Hellions. The young actress made quite an impression as a pregnant teen who must fend off a pack of demonic little fiends who want her unborn child. If not for Maika’s dual final girl roles, this might have been a tie!
And don’t forget to check out our previous Halloween Hotties focusing on, last year’s Halloween Hottie Addison Timlin, Melanie Papalia, Briana Evigan, Katrina Bowden, Alexandra Daddario, Katie Featherston, Katharine Isabelle, Amber Heard and Danielle Harris! (just click on their names to go to their pages!)
(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)
Simply put, Hellions is one of the best horror films of the year and possibly a new Halloween cult classic. Spooky, fairy tale-like story has 17 year-old teen Dora Vogel (Chloe Rose) finding out on Halloween that she is pregnant. Being an expectant mother is the least of her worries as Dora finds herself home alone on Halloween night with a blood moon in the sky and her house besieged by a pack of bizarre and vicious, costumed ‘children’ who want her unborn child. Now, as her child grows at an unnatural rate, Dora must fight for her life against this demonic brood who want ‘blood for baby’ and turn Halloween night into a nightmare.
Written by Pascal Trottier and directed by Pontypool‘s Bruce McDonald, this is a spooky and sometimes downright surreal Halloween tale that not only evoked parts of Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat, but Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm as well. Even so, it is it’s own movie with it’s own style and a style filled with Halloween spirit it is! With fields of pumpkins and it’s creepy costumed gremlins that haunt and hunt our pretty heroine, the film does ooze All Hallows Eve. McDonald gives this loads of atmosphere and there are some scenes that border on hallucinogenic, as the world around Dora changes into some kind of nightmarish dimension under the blood moon. There are some suspenseful sequences as the demonic little fiends try to get at Dora and chases once she’s forced to flee with the help of a local cop (Robert Patrick). There are also some delightfully gory moments, our little demons are creepy as hell and McDonald uses the traditional Halloween tropes in a gleefully ghoulish manner. McDonald’s creepy visuals and dark fairy tale ambience for the film are captured perfectly by Norayr Kasper’s spooky cinematography and there is a very atmospheric score by Todor Kobakov and Ian LeFeuvre. If the film has a weak point, much like this year’s It Follows, it’s that it’s climax is possibly a bit too ambiguous for it’s own good. While the ambiguity of exactly who or what Dora is carrying inside her and who exactly our little “Hellions” are works fine, the ending leaves us scratching our heads a little…or maybe it was all in Dora’s head? Other than that, this is a nightmarish and creepy little Halloween-steeped horror that doesn’t spare us on chills, thrills and splashes of gore.
We have a small, but very effective cast. As Dora, Chloe Rose makes quite an impression and has strong star potential delivering a frightened teen who becomes a resourceful fighter when threatened. She has a strong screen presence and not just because she is beautiful, but she radiates a strength even in the sequences where she is afraid. She brings Dora’s range of emotions to the screen well and can kick demon ass when she needs to. Robert Patrick is good as Office “Corman”…a nice nod to Roger Corman…and while it’s Rose’s show, he has some strong moments as a cop dealing with something he has encountered before and trying to help Dora escape a fate he once witnessed. The small supporting cast are all fine in minor roles with Rossif Sutherland as Dr. Henry, Rachel Wilson as Dora’s Mother and Peter DaCunha as her little brother Remi.
Some may not like this film due to it’s somewhat surreal nature and an ending that is maybe a touch too ambiguous, but it is filled with Halloween spirit and has plenty of spooky atmosphere, chills and spattered blood. Our diminutive spooks are very effective and we have a very memorable horror heroine in Chloe Rose. As a big fan of the horrors this film sometimes evoked, I really enjoyed this diabolically mischievous horror thriller and highly recommend it, especially to those who love films that embrace the spirit of Halloween.
3 and 1/2 Hellions.
First we got a trailer for the new Halloween set horror Hellions from Pontypool director Bruce McDonald. Now, word comes from the awesome folks over at Arrow In The Head that IFC Midnight plans to release this spooky looking horror on VOD and in limited theatrical release on September 18th! As Scream Factory is in cohoots with IFC Midnight currently, that probably means a Scream Factory disc soon after! Hellions stars Robert Patrick and Chloe Rose.
Source: Arrow In The Head