HELLmington is a disturbing slow-burn thriller starring Nicola Correia-Damude and Michael Ironside. Writer/directors Justin Hewitt-Drakulic and Alex Lee Williams peek under the surface of a sleepy little town and find a conspiracy, cover-ups, corrupt police, and privileged teens that think they are beyond reproach.
Synopsis: In 1999, outside the sleepy town of Hellmington, shy high school senior Katie Owens mysteriously vanished.
Police Detective Sam Woodhouse (Nicola Correia-Damude) is a troubled soul. Nine years after getting out of her hometown, she returns to Hellmington for the first time since graduation, to deal with the unexpected illness of her father. Just another tragedy in an already devastating year for Sam: her own daughter was killed in a fire, resulting in a downward spiral of anguish and guilt that has slowly destroyed her marriage and career.
Returning to her hometown of Hellmington is not easy. A former classmate of Katie Owens, reminders of the tragic evening, right before Katie disappeared, come back to haunt Sam. That night, at the senior prom, Sam found photos in her boyfriend’s gym locker, that led her to believe he was seeing Katie on the side. Livid, she beat-up Katie badly and made her a laughingstock by calling her terrible things. Katie disappeared soon after. Sam was never a suspect in Katie’s disappearance and eventually moved to the big city to be a police officer.
After seeing her uncle Rupert (Michael Ironside) she goes to her father’s hospital room. Alone for just a minute, her seemingly comatose father sits up and reaches out to her, saying only one thing before he dies: “Katie Owens!”
Despite her Uncle’s demands not to look into Katie’s disappearance, or get involved, Sam, always head-strong, goes forward with her own investigation. The last words of her dead father were the name of a girl missing for 9 years. The girl she beat up. She can’t just let that go.
It doesn’t take long before she figures out that her father’s death is just one in a series of suspicious deaths over the last few years. The most alarming part of that is that each death seems to circle back to relate in some way to Katie Owens. What really happened that night? Who took Katie and why? Always the detective, Sam needs to get answers.
Sam is already hurting. Hallucinations, personal demons, and insomnia leave her struggling to function in any normal way. She misses her daughter so badly and blames herself for not saving her from the fire. She has nightmares of her every night, that is if she manages to fall asleep at all.
Without giving too much away, Sam’s digging turns up more than she expected. The dark side of her hometown is filled with ugliness, that she herself was an unwitting accomplice to. In the process of interviewing any locals that had any connection to Katie, she discovers horrible secrets, and a century-old cult, that Katie was involved with.
After almost losing her life, what she ultimately discovers is so much beyond her comprehension that we are left wondering if she can survive. Her enemies are strong, and she is shocked to find out who they are and why.
Hellmington is a well-done film but felt a bit uneven. Nicola Correia-Damude was the stand-out for me, but there was decent acting overall.
I liked the twist at the end; it wasn’t 100% unexpected, but parts of it surprised me, which I always love. I wish it had not played for so long as a cold case kind of film- because I loved it when it finally went into full horror mode.
From Uncork’d Entertainment, HELLmington will be on VOD and DVD September 10.
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