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Hellions (Blu-ray Review)

HellionsStrange trick-or-treaters plague conflicted teenager Dora Vogel (Chloe Rose) during Halloween at her isolated home in the unsettling thriller Hellions. Making its Blu-ray and DVD premiere February 2nd, 2016 from Scream Factory, in conjunction with IFC Midnight, , Hellions stars Chloe Rose and Robert Patrick (Terminator 2), and was directed by acclaimed director Bruce McDonald (Pontypool). Fans of this sinister film can pre-order their copies now by visiting ShoutFactory.com.

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Under siege by forces she doesn’t understand, Dora must defend both body and soul from relentless hellions, dead set on possessing something Dora will not give them. Set in a visually haunting landscape and featuring an innovative, atmospheric score, Hellions redefines the boundaries of horror with its potent brew of Halloween iconography, teenage angst and desperate survival.

Hellions caught my attention with the trailer that had appeared on some previous Scream Factory and IFC Midnight joint venture releases.  Its a terrific trailer with the selling point of the super creepy trick or treater kids being highlighted. So, I had some expectations and hopes with this one, but I had to keep in check because these movies can tend to be mediocre.  Fortunately, Hellions didn’t disappoint.

This film is a nice personal hell for our lead Dora, a high school girl who finds out at age 17 that she is pregnant.  She’s also tormented by these creepy child like trick or treaters that start making everything in her home go weird and crazy.  The majority of the movie takes place in a one-house setting with just the character of Dora (Robert Patrick is merely a cameo-esque role to class up the packaging and marquee).  She’s played by Chloe Rose, who delivers an impressive performance.  The film lives and dies by her acting and she’s able to deliver with passion and accountability.

Veteran director Bruce McDonald’s film is an abstract little arthouse jaunt that keeps one sort of guessing and just indulging in its weirdness.  I get what the fear of this story is and what’s driving it, but I’m still not sure of what its trying to say exactly…but that’s kind of the fun with it.  And even if things are cloudy, its the wild journey and fantastic visuals…the “ride” that we’re taken on that is important.  And the ride we are taken on is definitely good enough to recommend.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  There are some different filters and video effects put upon the image, but make no mistake, this is a terrific looking film.  It has a full, rich image, with plenty of eerie details abound.  For a deeper, darker film it does have enough vividness to it.

Depth:  Objects and people are free and loose through their environments producing smooth movements.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and inky.  This is a pretty dark film, but the shadows and darkness only help to impress upon showing more details.

Color Reproduction:  There are many different filters used in the film, primarily a lavender looking one.  Colors are definitely strong.  Reds look very good and I was impressed with the white on the protagonist’s dress.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones maintain a consistent appearance throughout.  Details such as stubble, makeup, lip texture…and while not skin, the masks’ have plenty of surface detail shining greatly.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean.

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dynamics:  This is a very solid, above average track.  Its a quiet one for the first act of the movie, but once this movie plunges into insanity, its a very fun lively experience.  Sound is full and there is a healthy balance between music, score and vocals.

Low Frequency Extension:  Mostly the subwoofer is used for effect and some gun sounds and doors slamming.

Surround Sound Presentation:  The 5.1 mix filters your speakers throughout the room with haunting sounds, effects and in the case of the rear speakers terrific ambiance.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp and clear.

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Hellions comes with reversible cover art featuring an alternate poster design on the reverse side.

Trailer (HD, 1:48)

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Hellions proves a solid venture in abstract horror.  Its stylish, surprising and obscure in its storytelling.  As I mentioned, I’m not really sure what this whole movie is or is trying to get across in terms of fearing parenthood, but it doesn’t matter, the ride is what’s important here.  Also important is that this Blu-ray is very strong technically with great audio and video, but lacking in the extras department.  I think this one is well worth the rental, but purchase is only for the fans at the right price.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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