Hellbenders 3D (2012/Blu-ray/Lionsgate) Review

Over the last several years I have noticed alot of films about possession, ghosts, exorcisms, hauntings and other things of that nature being released one after another. I think that boom came out of the success of the Paranormal Activity franchise. Most that I have came across are nothing but junk, now on occasion I do seem to find a gem amongst the rest. My problem with most of films in this sub-genre is that they all seem to be just copying off one another or they are simply boring. The question to ask is does Hellbenders belong as just another bland film or does it rise above the rest and become that gem I am always in search of? Let this exorcism, oh wait let this autopsy begin!

Hellbenders follows a group of hellbound saints that live in a constant state of sin and debauchery in order to one day go to hell to fight. They end up getting  sent out on an assignment to perform and exocrism, but things are much more worse then they could of ever imagined. What they end up coming in contact with is a possessed man who has an ancient god-killer inside of him waiting to get out and open the gates of hell. After the exorcism goes wrong the ancient demon is set free onto the city. Now the group of hellbound saints must go on the fight of their lives to stop the demon from breaking the gates of hell open.
This is a film that completely went under my radar and it sucks that I was not able to see it in theaters because I think it would of been that much better of an experience. There is alot of things I think this film has going for it and as well does have a couple of things it kinda lacks. The only thing I personally would of changed is the fact that you only get bits of their back stories and I would of loved to of seen more about them and why they each became hellbound saints. The first thing I really liked is how the priests acted and how unique the their group of priests are. They are not this typical priest who just preaches, theses guys and gal kick ass and do whatever they want to in order to be able to fight demons and give them a first class escort to hell.
The second thing that I really liked what the talent they had behind the characters. When I simply seen that this film had the following cast memebers I just had to see it; Clifton Collins Jr. (Stoned Age), Clancy Brown (Shawshank Redemption), Larry Fessenden (Satan Hates You), Dan Fogler (Scenic Route), and Andre Royo (The Collection). Alot of these actors have done alot of films I have enjoyed so seeing them play in one film together put a big smile on my face. They each work off one another very well and they make their characters seem like they have been through alot together. In ways I can't help but think of Animal House meets and exorcism film.
One last thing I want to mention is how I really liked the balanced between the humor and the serious elements involved in the film. I'm not sure if it's just the way I saw it but they never did anything thing like put unnessisary humor in the middle of say an action scene. From time to time I did find myself wondering how the hell some of them survived what they went through, but after watching the film I realized it is based off a comic book so that helps to overlook the over-the-top moments. Now if you are looking for something more on the serious side then you may wanna pass this one by, but if you are looking for a fun film that does both comedy and horror perfectly then I say check this one out. Overall I thought this was one hell of a film and hope they can continue this into a sequel!
The presentation of this film is quite excellent. The picture is perfect and clear of any damage, and the detail is very high. The audio is great as well and is clear and bold. Now the one thing I cannot comment on really is the 3D due to not having the whole 3D setup. I really didn't see much of anything to make it worth wanting to actually see in 3D. Now with the great presentation you also get a boat load of special features that take you inside the making of the film as well as the original "exorcism" short films. 

-Daniel "Damnation" Lee

Director: JT Petty
Lead Actor/Actress: Clifton Collins Jr, and Clancy Brown
Genre: Comedy/Horror
Blu-ray Release Year: 2014
Theatrical Release Year: 2013
Time Length:  87 mins.
Rating: R
Region Code: Region A
Release Company: Lionsgate
Website:  www.lionsgate.com