Guests at a dinner party in an old manor hold a seance, that unleashes all manner of hell upon them…
What happens if you take The Evil Dead and combine it with The Old Dark House? You get a film like Here Comes Hell, which received its world premiere at FrightFest Glasgow, the directing debut from Jack McHenry, who also co-writes the film with Alice Sidgwick (also her debut as writer).
And what a debut it is!
Shot in black & white it captures the kinetic spirit of the Sam Raimi classic and also brilliantly skewers the classic dinner party setting from old British films. Shot on a low budget (according to the IMDB it is estimated at £20,000 approximately), it uses some techniques that are reminiscent of films made in the 30’s, such as the actors sitting in a stationary car on the set and projecting moving scenery behind them. It helps that the filmmakers in made the decision to shoot in black & white. Had it been shot in colour it would have looked terrible in truth, but in black & white it just works better.
Because of the budget, or lack of it, the effects in the film are also a throwback to those of the 80’s, which as I said, bring to mind the cheap effects of films such as The Evil Dead, but although they do look dated, they work very well indeed.
The cast really throw themselves into the roles with great enthusiasm. With the exception of a cameo from Robert Llewellyn (probably best known for Red Dwarf) the rest of the cast are unknowns to me. But all of them, Margaret Clunie, Jessica Webber, Tom Bailey, Charlie Robb and Timothy Renouf, the main characters are truly first rate, bringing to life on the surface stereotypical characters from this kind of period set film, thanks in part to a truly witty script.
The direction from Jack McHenry is superb. Like I said the film may not have had a lot of money, but he wrings everything he can from his budget. And what he lacks in the budget he makes up with keeping the film walking that thin line between comedy and horror brilliantly. It’s rare for me to laugh out loud at the cinema these days, films often just aren’t funny enough, but Here Comes Hell certainly is.
During the Q&A after, the director mentioned he was trying to pitch a ‘medieval Die Hard’ film. I for one would pay to see that, as with Here Comes Hell he has made a tremendous little film, one I hope many people get the chance to see.
As it is an absolute blast!
Rating: **** out of 5