Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: In 1987 Poland, a police officer investigating mysterious disappearances infiltrates a remote monastery and discovers a dark truth about its clergy.
Review: I caught up with this Polish horror movie a few weeks ago but my Halloween celebrations got the better of my time and it got lost in the fray. Still, it made an impression and as they say better late than never, especially when it comes to a solid horror story that takes some old genre tropes and turned them around in fun ways.
A young priest named Marek (Piotr Zurawski) shows up on the doorsteps of a remote monastery whose monks/priests specialise in performing exorcisms. The head priest Prior Andrzej (Olaf Lubaszenko) tells Marek that people bring their loved ones to this place which they call a sanitorium when they suspect there are supernatural reasons behind their behaviour. But nothing is at it appears to be in this dark and foreboding place as Marek isn’t a priest but an undercover cop investigating patients that have gone missing and these men of God turn out to be anything but.
The strength of Hellhole lies with the solid sense of dread and the gloomy atmosphere that permeates every frame. From the minute Marek enters his room to settle into the monastery we’re given hints that this place is anything but a holy one, and it just keeps building from there.
On the downside of things, the pacing does take its sweet time getting to the good stuff so the first and second acts suffer. And you could tell the entire story is structured with the hope that the big reveal of the final act will be enough to take things home. It’s something we’ve all seen before in horror movies with varying degrees of success (The Boy is one of the best recent examples of this) and fortunately for Hellhole, this gambit pays off, to a certain degree.
The final act utilises some stellar special effects and makes for the kind of scene that sticks long with you after it’s over. It’s a shame more of this wasn’t utilised throughout, which could’ve made for a religious horror that could stand tall with similar stories like The Omen.
It’s not perfect but with a tight runtime of one hour thirty minutes, Hellhole is a solid choice for fans of religious horror and worth a look if you’re still on the hunt for horror content post-Halloween.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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