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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Monster > Comedy > Hellbenders 3D (2012/Lionsgate Blu-ray 3D w/2D)

Hellbenders 3D (2012/Lionsgate Blu-ray 3D w/2D)

3D Picture: C 2D Picture: B Sound: B Extras: B Film: C

J.T. Petty's Hellbenders 3D (2012) is a film with a great premise and a disappointing delivery. Highlighted with a great performance by Clancy Brown, the film falls victim to badly written dialogue, jokes that aren't funny, 3D that isn't that impressive, and characters that are foul mouthed and un-relatable. The premise: when a demon escapes New York City intent on cracking open the gates of hell, the Hellbenders - elite, highly trained exorcists - must battle the demon and save the planet from eternal damnation!

The film attempts at comedy with the five Hellbenders, a group of sinners who do everything they can to make the wrong choices in life so that they can in turn become possessed by demons and then drag the demons back to hell. One foot in hell and one foot out is basically the premise of the film. Of course their actions and embarrassing acts are an embarrassment to the church but being that the group are damnation ready it makes them an asset.

The characters of the film are Clancy Brown who plays the aging exorcism specialist and leader Angus, Clifton Collins Jr. plays the protagonist Lawrence is the booksmart exorcist that keeps the group in check yet still remains on top of his debauchery, and Robyn Rikoon who plays Elizabeth - the token female of the group who eventually and inevitably becomes possessed by the evil forces of Satan. Also on the Hellbenders is Andre Royo who plays Stephen (the only likable character in the group) and Dan Fogler who plays Eric. Macon Blair plays Macon - the disapproving minister who oversees the Hellbenders.

One joke in the film is that Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) hasn't cheated on his wife in a year or so when he cheated on her with his co-worker Elizabeth (Robyn Rikoon). The tension between the two characters translates well on screen but at times a little forceful on the audience. At times, the narrative in the film is interrupted with a documentary style feel where they abruptly give the background of a place where the Hellbenders are visiting. That I enjoyed.

Tension happens with the Church threatens to shut down the Hellbenders' operation in the church because they craft such an ugly image. Though it feels like a problem that will easily be resolved later, and of course is.

All in all, the film has a few good laughs but feels at time like it tries too hard to be funny. The makeup special effects are average, and the script all in all feels predictable. It wants to be a cult movie but in the end is a one time watch.

The 2.40:1 2D 1080p Widescreen digital High Definition transfer on this film looks great on Blu-ray. The colors are crisp and saturated and up to standard. The shots of the city at dusk are a highlight but as I mentioned before, the film doesn't feel necessary in MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image. The scenes where they are actually fighting the demons are the only scenes where the three dimensionality really stands out. The lossless English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix on this disc is fantastic and engulfing. For a low budget film, the sound mix is pretty well done.

Extras include a commentary with the Director J.T. Petty and the Cast, God's Dirty Work with is a half hour documentary on the making of the film and the characters. Fly on the Wall: Behind the Scenes Footage, Original Exorcism Short Films and a theatrical trailer. The extras aren't bad at all on this release and feel comprehensive.

- James Lockhart


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