Film Review: 'Helmington' combines satanic panic with detective story

Genre veteran Michael Ironside of 'Starship Troopers' and the original 'Total Recall' adds some spice to this combination of detective story and occult thriller that in some respects brings Alan Parker's Angel Heart' to mind. But while Parker struck the proper balance between hallucinatory surrealism and a classical narrative, 'Hellmington' directors Justin Hewitt-Drakulic and Alex Lee Williams provide flashy directing that admittedly demonstrate some flair but sometimes too-strongly contrasts with the more straightforward scenes.

The directors are also credited with the script, which uses relatively standard horror/thriller tropes - an abandoned asylum, a heroine with a tragic past and a dark secret, a supporting character that emerges s a twist villain, a sinister cult-like group and townspeople with various skeletons in their closets. The main character, played in a workmanlike fashion by Nicola Correia-Damude, returns to her hometown to visit her dying father.

The father, a former prison guard, provides vague clues to the unsolved disappearance of a local teenager in 1999. References to numerology and a sinister group of what seem like horror role-players provide potential interest but ultimately the film plays out as a combination of mystery and revenge tale.

Ironside plays the heroine's uncle -- a burned-out local cop. Although the character and its trajectory are somewhat cliched, he plays the part with zest.

'Hellmington' emerges as a respectable bit of modern Gothic that explores the theme of people creating their own personal 'Hells" -- an idea tapped before but reasonably well-executed here.

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