The first two minutes of Hellmington are an audacious, mostly dialogue-free visual feast. Directors Justin Hewitt-Drakulic and Alex Lee Williams, who also wrote the mystery thriller, rely on the color palette, sharp editing, and a moody score by Cults to craft a spellbinding atmosphere. Remarkably, in their feature-length debut, the duo manages to keep up the tension and visual pizazz. It is too bad then that they squandered a brilliant setup on an underwhelming ending.
Samantha Woodhouse (a showstopping Nicola Correia-Damude) returns to her hometown because her dad is on his deathbed. Her demanding yet loving Uncle Ruppert (Michael Ironside), who is a cop, allows her to look at an old case file based on her dad’s final words. He said one name to Sam and just one, Katie Owens (Angelica Stirpe). Katie and Samantha were friends in high school until she disappeared without a trace one day. Now, Sam is trying to find any loose ends that may explain why her dad said that name.
“…reveals…an ancient sect whose members worship the number nine.“
Her investigation reveals the existence of an ancient sect whose members worship the number nine. As Samantha follows the clues, new revelations about the end of her and Katie’s friendship shakes her to the core. Is Sam going mad? Or is there something much larger at play here?
The first 30-minutes, give or take, engages the audience in a fascinating missing persons case. The introduction of the cult adds an intriguing new layer with which to keep the audience’s captive. The sprinkling, and importance, of Sam’s high school days, ensures that her arc, and those caught up in the long-cold case, is ever-present.