HellKat is an independent action film directed by Scott Jeffrey and Rebecca Matthews. The duo has already produced dozens of low-budget and independent action and horror movies over the past couple of years. What makes this title a little bit different from their previous attempts is it wants to be both scary and action-packed at the same time.
HellKat tells the story of Katrina (Sarah T. Cohen), a cage fighter who seemingly survives only on alcohol and cigarettes. She is depressed and has no will to live, but the slow pace of the narrative prevents the viewers from understanding her pain and subsequently sympathize with her. It takes almost half of the movie for Katrina to finally realize that she is actually dead and in some sort of purgatory. The action element starts here as Katrina is supposed to fight hellish monsters to save her soul in a tournament arranged by a demon named Jimmy Scott (Ryan Davies).
The idea of finding redemption through a fighting tournament is nothing new. There are already lots of successful franchises with the same themes and ideas. HellKat wants to add some horror to the played-out genre but fails. It is really difficult to watch an action-horror title that is neither scary nor thrilling for almost half of its runtime. Although independent films can’t handle certain technical things as well as their blockbuster counterparts, writing a good story does not need millions of dollars worth of equipment.
“…Katrina is supposed to fight hellish monsters to save her soul in a tournament…”
But Jordan Rockwell and Michele Pacitto’s script is so poorly structured that audiences are confused about how the protagonist does not know what’s going on. Katrina watches a man leave the bar on foot after he was just shot in the head with and she does not suspect that there is something wrong with this world. She stares at two blood moons in the sky and talks about them with a man, yet she thinks it’s all because of drinking too much tequila. With the protagonist ignoring such evident clues, it is quite difficult for the viewer to keep rooting for her and suspend enough disbelief to enjoy the movie.
The second major problem of HellKat is how its action sequences are directed. As I have already mentioned, it takes half of the movie to prepare the protagonist for the martial arts phase, but the action sequences are too short and far between. For example, Katrina’s first fight in the ring is just one minute long. Waiting for almost forty minutes to experience a minute of action is intolerable. Needless to say, the fight coordination is not even as good as what you see in most other B-movies. These two issues combined truly nulls the action part of HellKat and make it difficult to enjoy.
The first half of HellKat is devoid of any excitement, and when the action finally starts, the movie is concluded with haste. The characters in the story are not developed properly, and the narrative lacks coherence. It falls short on the technical side as well. The poor CGI is something you consciously expect from independent films, but the partial removal of the main character’s tattoos in some scenes shows nothing but negligence from the production team. The few memorable moments come from Ryan Davies as he torments Katrina. Davies plays his part well, but you need more than just an undying demon to tell a story about redemption.
"…Davies plays his part well..."