Possession films are a lot of fun. But the real horror for me has always been the power and reasons the holy men have to exorcise and intervene and who grants it. Religious and body horror combine in Hellhole, directed by Bartosz M. Kowalski and written by Kowalski and Mirella Zaradkiewicz.
Possession films are a lot of fun. But the real horror for me has always been the power and reasons the holy men have to exorcise and intervene and who grants it. Religious and body horror combine in Hellhole, directed by Bartosz M. Kowalski and written by Kowalski and Mirella Zaradkiewicz. Set in 1987, this satanic horror story uses a Polish monetary as well it can to tell one hell of a story and stars Piotr Zurawski, Olaf Lubaszenko, Sebastian Stankiewicz, and Lech Dyblik.
The monks of a remote monetary in Poland run a clinic for the possessed. Cut off from the outside world, they record the exorcisms and report to the Vatican, keeping the operation open with their findings. One day, a young policeman, Marek, comes to the convent. Posing as a clergyman, he penetrates monastic life and tries to explain the recent, mysterious disappearance of several tormented women. It turns out, however, that there is no way out of the monastery.
Hellhole is multiple different horror films all pulled into one. In the beginning, it’s a pure possession tale, with women in control of the men tasked to save them, their bodies bruised and breaking while the monks chant for their salvation. The next act is a cult story, with our lead, Marek, trying to outrun the demonic evil of the monastery. And finally, it’s a religious horror tale using the supernatural and practical creature work to explore an attempt to bring the Devil to Earth.
Tension is the name of the game in this Polish film and it doesn’t let up as Marek dives deeper into the Monastic grounds and history. There is body horror, the supernatural, and of course demons. But what propels it all is actually the way that holy men enact violence and faith in an attempt to claim power. Hellhole also manages to capture the gross and the beautiful at the same time. Mainly its final sequences, camera transitions, and effects work makes a stunning finale. While it feels extremely separate from the rest of the film, this ending manages to make Hellhole leave a lasting impression. When you mix all of these elements together, you wind up with the perfect Halloween treat, and as an October Netflix release, that’s all we can want.
Ultimately Hellhole is a monastic nightmare that leans on traditional jump scares throughout before paying off with an artful ending that makes its tight hour and 30-minute runtime hit its full potential. Creepy and mysterious, the story that’s wound up in Hellhole is not predictable by any means. In fact, every time you think you’ve solved one part of the horror, a new one rises up.
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