HELLmington (2018)

Writer-directors Justin Hewitt-Drakulic and Alex Lee Williams created this film about the sleepy village of Hellmington, a place that Detective Samantha Woodhouse (Nicola Correia-Damude, The Strain) thought she left behind ten years ago. That said — as much as you can never go home again, you probably shouldn’t.

All those years back, troubled high school senior Katie Owens mysteriously vanished. That ties into why Samantha is back, beyond the fact that she’s dealing with the death of her estranged daughter. She’s also dealing with the death of her daughter, an event that has destroyed her marriage and career.

Soon, she learns that her father’s death is one of many that ties into Katie Owens. There’s also the matter of her insomnia, hallucinations, self-doubt and a centuries-old cult that runs the town.

This film was the winner of the 2015 Cinecoup Film Accelerator Challenge, which granted them a million dollars in financing. The original version of the film was a documentary that only focused on the Katie Owens disappearance, but the final film ended up becoming a narrative story.

The filmmakers spent their money the right way, getting great actors like Correia-Damude, who they’ve said was the reason the film was able to finish on time (she supposedly nailed 9-12 pages of script a day, an amazing feat) and Michael Ironside (Starship Troopers), who was the selling point to get me to watch this.

Between the arty shots and the soundtrack by Cults, this film aspires more to the arthouse than grindhouse. If you’re a fan of True Detective, you’ll see its influence all over the film. That said, for young filmmakers making a film that’s pretty much going direct to streaming, it’s head and shoulders above the competition.

HELLmington is available now on DVD and streaming on demand.

DISCLAIMER: We were sent this movie by its PR team but that has no bearing on our review.

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