Izzy (Zelda Adams) and her mother (Toby Poser) live by a mountain in the woods where Izzy is home schooled because she has a condition which means that she can’t get too close to other people. However, Izzy is a teenager and like all teenagers she’s curious about what the world has to offer and longs to be out there among other people.
Izzy’s mother does like to keep her daughter occupied though and they have a good life at home. They even like to write, compose and perform in their own rock band they call Hellbender.
Then one day Izzy goes wandering in the woods and meets Amber (Lulu Adams) and despite Izzy’s better judgment, she makes friends with Amber and they start spending more time together. In fact, Izzy becomes enamoured with Amber and maybe because of her social inadequacies, she starts to get too close. The thing that Izzy doesn’t know is that her mother is holding a secret about Izzy’s true nature that brings a whole new meaning to the term Hellbender. Izzy is about to find out the extent of what she can really do.
Hellbender is a supernatural horror written and directed by John Adams, his daughter Zelda and her mother Toby Poser. It even co-stars sister Lulu Adams which truly makes it a family affair. Audiences may think there’s a familiar theme within the story of Hellbender as there are undertones of Carrie and the mother/daughter connection, although not abusive, could lead them to suspect something more sinister.
However, Hellbender is altogether more original than being a Carrie knock off and with great performances by mother and daughter, it shows a real bond between them. It also helps to cleverly misdirect the audience as to what’s really happening.
The story of Hellbender has many layers which explore the connection between mother and daughter, the worries a parent may have about her child and even the awkwardness of teenage friendships, but never goes where the audience may think. The performances in the mother/daughter band and the songs punctuated throughout the film are great too.
Hellbender is a unique film which will fascinate and even scare the audience a little whilst keeping them captivated by the story.
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