The trailer for Hellions, director Bruce McDonald’s new film, starts off with a standard-issue plot device. 17-year-old Dora learns she’s pregnant: So far, so normal. But then, some children arrive on her doorstep, trick or treating for Halloween, and when they hold open a bag, Dora looks inside, and there’s what appears to be the severed head of her boyfriend. Now we’re in horror-movie territory, but this story is just getting started.
Things seem to go off the rails in a major way here, with crazy imagery like a baby growing at ten times the normal speed and some deviant little kids who might be monsters. It’s tough to say whether Hellions is supposed to have a streak of black comedy, because the impression this trailer gives is of a pretty ridiculous movie. Still, McDonald is nothing if not adroit when it comes to making potentially ridiculous stories compelling and eerie, as he proved with 2008’s Pontypool. By the time Robert Patrick shows up as a gun-toting benefactor, the madness of everything before him has blurred into an almost stream-of-consciousness feel, like the movie is going to throw whatever it can think of at you.
IFC Midnight is releasing Hellions in theaters and VOD starting September 18, but those attending TIFF this year can get a first look. If you do, please let us know if it’s as batshit as it seems.