Netflix’s Hellhole (Ostatnia Wieczerza in Polish) is a horror film set in 1987. It focuses on a man named Marek as he joins an old and secluded monastery in Poland. He soon realises that there is something off about the residents there and begins investigating, only to discover a horrifying legend.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Hellhole begins in 1957 as a priest is about to kill a baby boy inside a church. He prays to God to destroy this evil seed but is shot down by officers of the militia before he can stab the child.
After 30 years, a militia officer named Marek joins a secluded monastery — that is also a sanatarium for possessed people — disguised as a clergyman. He is investigating the disappearance of eight women in the area and has received a word that there are answers within this property.
Marek is met by the institution’s head, Prior Andrzej, who explains to him that the place is ancient and filled with deranged people who have no one to call family.
He is also told to stay inside his room after dark as there are no lights or phones in the building. Furthermore, Andrzej tells Marek that dark powers have a hold over this place.
After witnessing an exorcism of a girl, Marek’s investigations prove that the entire process was fake. However, as he digs deeper, he uncovers a conspiracy that dates back centuries and involves the rise of a demon.
The acting in Hellhole is quite good and adds to the eerie setting. Piotr Zurawski as Marek is intense and does well to preserve the spooky atmosphere of the narrative. The audience learns everything via his perspective and as he gradually crumbles within the walls of the monastery, his authenticity forces the viewers to fall with him.
Olaf Lubaszenko plays the Prior as the typical wise elder who has a lot to hide. Even though his performance is great, it is filled with overused tropes of silent villains. There is no attempt to even hide the malicious intent.
Sebastian Stankiewicz as Piotr is brilliant. His character is the most unpredictable and switches from a friend to a foe in the blink of an eye. You want to believe that he wants to help Marek but his betrayal also makes sense. Stankiewicz’s acting chops hide Piotr’s true intentions really well.
Hellhole has an uncomfortable feeling attached to it throughout its runtime. The buildup is perfectly paced and filled with enough creepy developments that keep you invested.
The monastery feels like a character itself. The candle lit hallways, withering infrastructure, and mentally ill patients add brilliantly to the immersion. The film drops hints for what is to come and one can have a lot of fun trying to predict the next step it is going to take.
There is just the right amount of gore and grossness to aid the plot but not to make you constantly look away (However, some people still might find it hard to see).
The visual effects and CGI are of a very high quality as well.
One thing Hellhole is severely lacking in is the horror. It does severe injustice to its intriguing premise by not adding worthy scares to live up to its full potential.
The creepy suspense can only hold on for so long, and that too, doesn’t pay off in the end. The whole idea of a secret cult wanting to raise a demon is an overused trope which could have still worked if it was executed well.
The ending looks like a completely different film and comes across as forced. The demon rising is quite exciting to witness but when it turns people upside down like inverted crucifixes, it just feels like a parody.
Furthermore, the loud background music that keeps playing to make the film feel scary is just an annoyance.
Hellhole is a unique film that keeps you hooked for the most part with its creepy storyline but fails to stick the landing. It is worth a watch for its intense buildup and authentic performances, however, the conclusion will leave you feeling underwhelmed.
Director: Bartosz M. Kowalski
Date Created: 2022-10-27 10:34