‘Hellbender’ Review (A very satisfying independent horror thriller)


16-year-old Izzy (Zelda Adams) suffers from a rare illness that has kept her isolated on a mountaintop with her mother (Toby Poser) her whole life. As Izzy begins to question her sickness, she pushes back against her confinement and secretly befriends Amber (Lulu Adams), another girl living on the mountain, but her newfound happiness is derailed after she eats a live worm as part of a juvenile game and finds an insatiable and violent hunger awakened within her. To understand the hunger, Izzy must learn the dark secrets of her family’s past and the ancient power in her bloodline.

Hellbender is a cool DIY horror thriller made my John Adams and Toby Poser, it also stars their daughter Zelda Adams in a breakthrough performance that stands with Saint Maud’s Morfydd Clark. Now, they’re two completely different movies but the performances by the two leads are similar in tone.

Toby Poser is a flat out rock star in Hellbender that should get her some attention as she owns the role of Izzy’s mother, in a demanding character that never gets boring in a lean and mean movie coming in just under eighty five minutes. It’s the perfect movie for an independent enthusiast time at home for when it premieres on Shudder.

The visuals are one helluva ride throughout the film, especially the all out finale rivals some of the best visuals you will in an A24 film, also think the 2020 horror film Gretel and Hansel when it comes to witches visuals in the finale, that will leave you jaw on the floor and you won’t be able to pick up for hours.

Overall grade: 3/5 stars
Written By: AJ Friar

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