FRESH, RAW and bewitching indie folk horror Hellbender will grip fans with a story that has real bite, promising one hell of a ride. As unnerving and gruesome as it is beautiful and enticing, this captivating, unsettling and hellish feature will push audiences to the brink. Written and directed by genre trailblazers, the Adams Family (The Deeper you Dig), the film is certified fresh with a 97% score on Rotten Tomatoes. This bold and bloody Shudder Original is now on DVD and digital and was released 5 September 2022 courtesy of Acorn Media International.
The sixth feature from the family collective who write, direct, produce, score, edit and act in all of their films, Hellbender had its world premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival 2021, where it garnered two wins and a nomination for Best Actress, Best Motion Picture Score and Best Film, respectively.
16-year-old Izzy (Zelda Adams) lives in isolation with her mother (Zelda’s real-life mum, Toby Poser) in the quietly eerie mountains of New York State. Cut off from the outside world, Izzy is home-schooled and prohibited from leaving the house because she suffers with a rare auto-immune disease which prohibits her from being around other people. Or so she’s been told…
After befriending Amber (sister Lulu Adams), Izzy questions the reality of her disease. And, when she eats a live worm as part of a teenage game, she develops an insatiable hunger for living things…
The first taste of blood awakens Izzy’s powers, and she soon learns that she and her mother are the latest in a line of Hellbenders, a hybrid of witches, demons, and predatory animals. While Izzy’s mother is convinced that she has her powers under control, when Izzy learns of her new abilities, a dark and dangerous mother-daughter power struggle collides with a battle of bloodlust.
What ensues is an inventive and exhilarating occult coming-of-age story imbued with a uniquely female narrative. With breath-taking cinematography and astounding performances, the film is a product of the Adams Family’s home-grown aesthetic and ushers something spellbinding, shocking, and refreshingly unexpected into the horror genre.
Dark, disturbing, and full of depth, Hellbender is a must-watch for all genre fans.