Film Review: HELLMINGTON (Canada 2017) ***

Hellmington Poster
A detective investigates her father’s dying words; the name of a girl who has been missing for 9 years.

HELLMINGTON is a suspense thriller written and directed by Justin Hewitt-Drakulic and Alex Lee Williams.  HELLMINGTON is the name of the school where the trouble in the story begins.

The film opens wth a burning house, an image that is revisited several times in the film – likely for the reason that it is the most expensive set-piece and also for the reason that it has something important to do with the mystery shrouded in the story.  There is also an image of a little girl in a photograph.  As the film progresses, more and more incidents are built into the story.  There is a cult with the cult’s symbol (a rather silly looking asymmetric one) that keeps appearing, the disappearance of a teen girl, the various suspects, the prison guards and the main protagonist, Sam who returns to her home town to re-open old wounds.

The basic plot involves a detective, Samantha Woodhouse (Nicola Correia-Drakulicinvestigates her father’s dying words; the name of a girl who has been missing for 9 years.  Sam is called to the town and informed of the father’s death by her uncle (Micahel Ironside, the only recognizable name in the cast), who is the brother of her father, both of whom worked as prison guards.  The uncle appears to be a dirty old man from his actions, with Sam insisting she stays at a motel instead of his house.  The motel’s receptionist is hilarious, injecting thinly humour in this mostly serious film.  The girl missing has disappeared after what looks like a prom party in which the last person seen with her was her date.  Sam questions the date, who is seen suddenly running away, freaking out.  The film has many well staged build-ups.  Besides the one just mentioned, there is the one with Sam in a motel room when the occult sign suddenly appears on the wall, among others.  Suspense is enhanced by the soundtrack within with thumping (on walls) or the loud sound of the heart beating.

Apparently there is more than meets the eye, as Sam turns up somehow connected with the girl’s disappearance.

All the incidents are eventually neatly tied together in a well constructed mystery thriller that occasionally feels like a horror film.  The film is shot in North Bay, Ontario where there are plentiful shot of the wood and country.


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