Quite the group effort here: the film is written, directed, produced, and edited by a filmmaking family collectively known as The Adams, consisting of Toby Poser, John Adams, and Zelda Adams – all of whom also star. Plus, the family also produced the music for the feature with tracks from their experimental punk band H6LLB6ND6R.
Adams plays 16-year-old Izzy, a girl suffering from a rare illness that’s kept her isolated, living with her mother (Poser) on a mountaintop. As Izzy begins to push back against her confinement and question her sickness, she befriends another girl (Lulu Adams) living on the mountain. After eating a live worm during a juvenile game, Izzy finds a violent hunger coming from within, placing her on a path to uncover her bloodline’s dark secrets.
A striking, borderline red band trailer below, kicking off with a hanging execution that doesn’t exactly go as planned. Plenty of gothic imagery in this tale of witchcraft and personal identity, which has been gathering itself very promising reviews on its festival run. At the time of writing, Hellbender has an impressive 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Hellbender will be streaming on Shudder from February 24th.