Life’s pretty sweet for teen Goth high school hottie Dora (Chloe Rose); it’s Halloween, she’s ditching school to kick back in the arms of her boyfriend Jace (Luke Bilyk), smoking a joint and generally be a teenager in love while later that night there’s the biggest party of the year to look forward to. A routine trip to the doctor changes everything however when Dora discovers she’s up the duff (and we’re not talking Designated Ugly Fat Friend…) and starts talking ‘options’ with her sympathetic GP.

As she waits at home, alone, for Jace to come pick her up and take her to the party, three weirdly malevolent, mute, munchkin-sized trick-or-treaters in clown masks and pumpkin heads knock at her door. And then keep knocking. It soon becomes clear it’s more than candy they want: it’s “Blood for baby!” and they’re not going to wait on Dora delivering the natural way.

As a blood moon rises, scorching the sky purple-pink, unleashing a nightmarish storm and causing time to spin out of control, Dora finds herself trapped in her own home, her bun in the oven rapidly baking, battling for survival against an army of pint-sized demons spawned by the local pumpkin patch (I shit thee not…), intent on being the parents to Dora’s unborn child that she’ll never be.

Hellions raises a number of not easily answered questions; namely WTF is going on? Is Dora really being attacked by demonic pumpkin patch kids? Or has her mind cracked under the stress of discovering she’s pregnant? Why have the sky and all the clocks gone a bit Cocteau-on-acid? What was in that doobie they were smoking? And, is this feverish twaddle really the work of Bruce McDonald whose last foray into horror was 2008’s brilliant Pontypool?

The answer to that last question is yes, yes it is, and while Hellions may not be a patch on that earlier film and doesn’t make a lick of sense, it’s hard not to enjoy a film that cranks the demented choir of spooky kids soundtrack up to 11 and features scary, murderous children toting a severed head in their trick-or-treat sack, a Lovecraftian fantasy foetus and an increasingly pregnant teen Goth in a blood-spattered angel costume blowing away “Mama!” and “Blood for baby!” chanting pre-pubescent devils with a pump action.

A former Degrassi kid Rose (as is the brief Bilyk, McDonald having directed several episodes of the Canadian teen drama over the years) makes a convincingly vulnerable heroine forced to find the steely Final Girl deep inside if she’s going to save herself and the baby she’s not even sure she wants while the always reliable Robert Patrick provides strong support as the grizzled local sheriff with a personal score to settle with the pumpkin patch kids.

But it’s McDonald who’s the film’s true star, bringing a frenzied energy to this nightmarish, phantasmagorical fever dream of a movie that’s all his own. While it’s never quite as fun or scary as it thinks it is and it’s final two thirds never quite live up to it’s foreboding first, at its dark little heart, Hellions is a sly, unsettling parable of unwanted pregnancy, guilt and the anxious, gnawing fears of impending motherhood masquerading as a deranged creepy kid flick.

DVD Review: Hellions
3.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)

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