Over the course of their eight-year filmmaking journey, the Adams family have continually refined their artistic and narrative sensibilities. With Hellbender, their sixth feature, confidence and creativity coalesce to create something that feels like a magical breakthrough. Following their 2020 supernatural thriller The Deeper You Dig, it appears the Adams have developed a penchant for horror - a perfect accompaniment to their signature low-budget, homegrown style. Although Hellbender incorporates many of the recurring motifs present in the Adams family’s work - such as dysfunctional family dynamics and references to John Adams’ former career as a punk musician - it is undoubtedly the most fully-realized project the family has undertaken to date. 16-year-old Izzy (Zelda Adams, the youngest daughter and co-director alongside John Adams and Toby Poser) has been warned from a young age by her mother (Poser) that the outside world will bring her nothing but harm due to her rare autoimmune disease. Izzy spends her days isolated and alone, with only the majestic landscape surrounding her mother's secluded mountain home providing her with any solace. Despite being forbidden to leave the property, Izzy and her mother have a strong bond, often engaging in playful affection and taking hikes through the lush forest on rainy days. Together, they form a punk rock band, Hellbender, donning outrageous makeup and playing tight, catchy songs for their own enjoyment. Every aspect of Hellbender is crafted by a small team of creatives, from the stunning cinematography of Zelda and John to the laid-back yet quirky costume design of Poser. The end result is a captivating exploration of two individuals and their isolated lives, as well as the fear of supernatural possession.
By the time the film reaches its gory, gloomy conclusion, viewers are left feeling thoroughly wrung out. The inherited traumas, overbearing impositions, and brooding bloodlust are never presented in a straightforward fashion, providing plenty of twists and revelations along the way. Hellbender is a must-see foray into folk horror, a creepy yet strangely comforting experience that will remind audiences of the most eccentric aspects of their own upbringings. It will also evoke deeply-concealed memories of the anguish of growing pains - a veritable hell on Earth if ever there was one.
Pubescent pressures are compounded by the presence of a horrifying mutant doppelganger in Hatching, Finnish director Hanna Bergholm’s debut feature. Written by Ilja Rautsi, the film is a domestic drama at its core, exploring the toxicity of a controlling mother-daughter dynamic. However, what truly elevates Hatching to the upper echelons of the familial horror-drama is its inspired use of practical effects and puppeteering, resulting in a genuinely unsettling movie monster that appears all the more uncanny in its originality. While the finer plot details may not be as groundbreaking as its central doppelganger entity, Hatching still manages to hit the right emotional cues - instilling its fair share of thrilling scares while stirring adolescent pathos.
In an idyllic Finnish suburb, a seemingly perfect family lives a seemingly perfect life. At least, that’s the image that the family matriarch (Sophia Heikkilä) carefully curates via regular vlog posts. Her videos capture their home’s polished decor, making sure to highlight elegant floral details and crystal chandeliers. Just as aesthetically congruent as the home’s interior is the family that resides inside it: The father (Jani Volanen) is well-dressed and mild-mannered, their bespectacled young son Matthias (Oiva Ollila) endearingly precocious and their 12-year-old daughter Tinja (Siiri Solalinna) a rising local gymnast. As the anxiety surrounding an upcoming competition threatens to unravel her, Tinja finds a mysterious object in the woods surrounding her family’s home: A speckled egg, solitary in the world without a mother to brood it. Just a short time later, the egg grows ten times in size—and the being germinating within begins to emerge.
About the Creator
Im 50% coffee, 50% pizza and 100% sarcastic.
I've been writing since i could hold a pencil and have my first poem published when i was 8 years old. Writing is my passion and i hope that comes across in my work.
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