Monday, May 14, 2007
British Jinx Media is back again after their highly enjoyable Killer Killer. This time they’ve unleashed Hellbride, which isn’t nearly as good as Killer Killer, but still manages to deliver great characters, good acting and some pretty spooky otherworldly forces.
Lee (James Fisher) and Nicole (Rebecca Herod) are very much in love and Lee finally finds the perfect ring with which to propose to Nicole. Trouble is, the ring’s original owner was Josephine Stewart (Eleanor James), a Victorian bride-to-be who was cheated on by her fiancé. Josephine decided not to let on that she knew about her betrothed’s fling, but began murdering anyone and everyone associated with her wedding. When the wedding day arrived, Josephine bit off her own ring finger that held her ring and killed her fiancé. Ever since then the ring has been cursed, and any bride-to-be that wears it is soon beset by death. Lucky Nicole! She soon begins having visions of Josephine and her creepy, pointy-beaked monster minion. To make matters worse, her dad (James Kavaz) owes money to the mob and Nicole becomes entangled with the death of the mob boss’ son. With all of these problems, not to mention cold feet, will Lee and Nicole ever be able to tie the knot?
Hellbride has a lot going for it, most notably its likable characters. I fell right into Nick and Nicole’s cute relationship, and also like the awkward relationship between their two best friends, Ricky (Oli Wilkinson) and Carly (Natalie Milner), who also happen to be exes. The characters are developed just enough to get to know them and care about them. I also enjoyed the beginning of the film where Josephine’s story is told through old-fashioned black and white drawings.
The story itself feels more like a romantic comedy than anything else. One-liners, gags and lovey-doviness run throughout. It also helps that Nick is a stand-up comic, adding to the laugh-track. One of my favorite gags, though, was the character of Sinclair (Cy Henty of Killer Killer), Carly’s nerdy and sleazy cousin whom Nicole consults for supernatural help.
The acting is what elevates this film from simply being another independent feature to one that stands out. The story might need improvement, but the actors all shine in their roles. James Fisher is adorable as the sweet and loving Lee, Rebecca Herod is as cute-as-a-button and Oli Wilkinson and Natalie Milner have so much chemistry between their characters it’s hard to look away!
The biggest let-downs of the film were the mob sub-plot and the ending. The mob sub-plot involving Carly and her dad felt completely out of place in the film and didn’t add anything to it. The ending dragged on for too long and really wasn’t exciting or suspenseful. Also, certain points of the plot didn’t make sense and weren’t explained. For example, how did Josephine take corporeal form? And what was her monster minion?? It sure looked creepy, but where did it come from and how did it come to be?? Also, Killer Killer had some great visual style too it, but it seemed lost in Hellbride.
If you are looking for something scary with lottsa gore, skip this one, but if you are looking for an independent horror film that’s heavy on romantic comedy, Hellbride just might be your ticket. It’s got laughs, great acting, well-drawn characters and one creepy monster minion!
Available from Amazon!