Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sean Kelly

TADFF14: Hellmouth

HellmouthFrom director John Geddes (Exit Humanity) and writer Tony Burgess (Pontypool) comes this surreal thriller about a gravekeeper venturing into the depths of hell.  Charlie Baker (Stephen McHattie) is the constantly harassed groundskeeper at a cemetery, who is looking forward to his retirement at the end of the week.  However, Charlie is told by his boss, under the threat of the loss of his pension, to travel to the Forks of Heaven Cemetery to replace the existing groundskeeper, who has gone AWOL.  It turns out that this cemetery is right by a gate to hell and Charlie must help prevent the contents from passing through, with the help of a mysterious woman named Faye (Siobhan Murphy).

One big positive about Hellmouth is that it has a pretty impressive visual style to it.  The film, particularly in the first half, is structured in a way to look like a horror film from the 1950s.  My only wish is that Hellmouth kept this look and feel consistent throughout the entire film. After the stark black and white first act, with the odd splash of colour, the world of Hellmouth becomes increasingly surreal and colourful, until the very CGI-filled final act.  Hellmouth can definitely be described as style over substance.

The film features a lengthy expositional sequence, in which the local sheriff tells the story of other gravekeepers, featuring cameos from the likes of Julian Richings and Pontypool director Bruce McDonald. This section came off heavily as filler and somewhat slowed down the progression of the plot. Despite the film’s faults, Hellmouth still features a solid performance by Stephen McHattie, who is often interacting with only one or two other actors or a bunch of CGI demons. Altogether, while Hellmouth is impressive visually, it suffers from a weak plot and overreliance on CGI.


Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).