GFF19 Review: Here Comes Hell!

Part gleeful homage to classic William Castle inspired horror, part gory video nasty, Here Comes Hell! is playful slice of horror-comedy. It serves as Jack McHenry's debut feature film, which he co-writes with Alice Sidgwick.

An eclectic host of characters gather at a dilapidated old mansion - previously owned by tormented occultist, Ichabod Quinn. The sophisticated 1930s soiree soon turns into a demon-filled bloodbath as the Gates of Hell are opened and chaos ensues.

From its opening with a Hitchock or Castle style host coming out to warn those faint of heart to leave, it's evident that McHenry and Sidgwick's tongues are firmly planted in their cheeks. As we're introduced to the eclectic collection of characters, this is only furthered - from a gung ho Texan (Tom Bailey), a washed up tennis pro (Timothy Renouf), a foppish cad (Charlie Robb), a vampy femme fatale (Jessica Webber), and an innocent heroine tinged with a hint of darkness (Margaret Clunie). Here Comes Hell! finds most of its fun in placing these characters in an unfamiliar surroundings and playing with the stereotypes associated with each role.

With cut-glass accents and a dated notion of gender politics, Here Comes Hell! playfully subverts the dated nostalgia of the classic horror film from a 21st Century sensibility. The humour is generally stronger in this first half, and the impact lessens as Here Comes Hell! turns into a video nasty where the emphasis becomes more centred on gore and gross out visuals than dated sensibilities.

Praise should go to the inventive use of visual effects throughout the film. From the outlandish gore, mangled creatures, ghostly apparitions and portal to Hell - the film's budget does not show or hamper the outlandish proceedings. Shooting in black and white also helps inject further nostalgia into McHenry's film - and when this is paired with the graphic violence, creates a unique blend of old and new. A cast who go the extra mile and are not afraid to embrace a little bit of camp in their performances, also ensure that Here Comes Hell! is a riotous good time.

Here Comes Hell! is a playful homage to classic horror cinema. It is willing to push the boundaries of camp and silliness, whilst showcasing some inventive visual production and genuinely nasty horror tropes.

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