Hellbenders

Screen International, September 20, 2012 | Go to article overview

Hellbenders


Dir/scr: JT Petty. US. 2012. 85mins

This oddball profanity heavy 3D horror romp is great in concept - a breakaway group of New York priests have to indulge in as many sins as possible so they are 'damnation ready' and up to the task of exorcising demons - but while punctuated with deliciously dark moments it is way too scattershot and unamusing to work the way it intends.

It is great to see genre film stalwart Clancy Brown given a role he can rally get his teeth into.

The core idea for JT Petty's tight little low-budget horror film is sound, with the Hellbound Saints of Brooklyn Parish resembling a raucous fraternity rather than Catholic Church priests. Led by Angus (Clancy Brown, from Highlander and Petty's The Burrowers) they live in a constant state of debauchery - smoking, drinking and philandering - and are monitored to make sure they are breaking as many sins as possible.

Apparently they are the Church's best last hope and leap into action - or catch the bus in some cases - when a regular exorcism just won't do the trick. They're called in to trap demosn and drag them down to hell with them. The team - which includes Clifton Collins Jr., Andre Royo, Dan Fogler, Macon Blair and Robyn Rikoon - finds themselves under pressure when the Church threatens to close them down, and when a new demon arrives in the Big Apple they find themselves in a crazed race to save the world and halt a demon's plans to wipe out humanity. …

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