Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Hellbenders

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 33% (Critics) / 25% (Audience)
Directed By: J.T. Petty
Written By: J.T. Petty
Starring: Clifton Collins Jr., Clancy Brown, Andre Royo and Dan Fogler
Studio: Bloody Disgusting

Synopsis:The Augustine Interfaith Order of Hellbound Saints, a team of blasphemous ministers who live in a constant state of debauchery, work to drag the worst of demons back to Hell. (Source)

The Good:
HELLBENDERS has a really interesting premise that I think is ripe for exploring. The idea that the Catholic Church has a special task force of sinners to deal with possessions makes a lot of sense. Who better to face down demons than people who are already damned? And the actors who portray the priests were really game to go as far as possible in depicting the levels of debauchery that were necessary to be a part of this special task force. This is especially true of Clifton Collins Jr. and Clancy Brown who dove into their roles with all sorts of exuberance.

The Bad:
The problem with this film is that the premise and actors were never given any assistance by the script and the direction. Being helmed by a neophyte director whose majority of writing credits have been on video games showed through in the worst ways.

The Ugly
I understand this is a low budget film but the final confrontation scenes that were supposed to be epic ended up being so sparse and the effects looked really cheap and amateurish. A lot of the flaws of this film could have been covered up with a little boost in the effects budget.

Final Verdict: A good premise and a very game cast that was up for pretty much anything the writer/director wanted to throw at them but the final product on the screen never quite lives up to the promise. Maybe with a more skilled director at the helm things would have worked out better but as it stands HELLBENDERS never as fun as I wanted it to be.

Grade: C-

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