I happened upon the trailer for Hellbender shortly before it was released on Shudder. I was immediately intrigued by what I saw in the trailer and got excited about it being a Shudder original. Shudder tends to pick original content that is high quality even if everything won’t be for you, not everything has to be for everyone. Hellbender is definitely for me and I wish I hadn’t taken so long to see it. Everything about the movie that I’ve learned about the movie is surprising.

The movie was written and directed by John Adams, Zelda Adams, and Toby Poser. The fact that all three also starred Hellbender as well as doing multiple things in the movie is a testament to what people can do. This movie has some of the most interesting visuals and that’s even without the visual effects. That’s not even mentioning the story drawing you in. The story is so intriguing that you can’t help but stay glued to the movie as it shows you the world and what the rules are for it.

Hellbender is really Zelda Adams and Toby Poser’s movie. The only other person that gets sizable screentime is Lulu Adams. Zelda Adams is amazing in her role. I don’t want to say too much but the journey that her character goes through is something else. You get to experience some interesting things at the same time as she does, and they leave both you and her changed. Toby Poser’s performance is outstanding. Her performance is more guarded, which comes from the differences in the characters.

The visual effects were done by Trey Lindsay and with them being done by one person and looking as fantastic as they do is a feat. I can’t think of a single janky looking shot or anything, which I would look over with it being the work of one person. It has a consistent quality that some big budget movies don’t have. The music also kicks ass in the movie. It says John Adams but I’m pretty sure Zelda Adams and Toby Poser performed they songs that their characters played in the movie. It also says that he was the one behind the sound design, which is great in the movie. The music and sound design are both amazing.

Hellbender is a great coming of age movie that does some interesting things with mythology. I’ve tried not to say anything too much about what is in the movie or what happens. This is the kind of movie that you should go into knowing as little as possible so you can’t get even slightly spoiled. The fact that this was basically made by a family is amazing. You can stream Hellbender on Shudder as a Shudder Original. I give Hellbender 9 black crowns out of 10.

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