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Stay Off My Lawn

Let's start a review on a positive note for once. The Hellions title is great. It's a clever play on words in and of itself, and worked well as a representation for the bloodthirsty miscreants in the film. I also enjoyed the costumes for our costumed assailants. They were raw, creepy, and fresh. I swear that one with the metal pale on his head was going to give someone tetanus. Unfortunately, that's where most of my enjoyment ends.

There was something about the initial premise that was intriguing. Like an American version of Them featuring younger ages, or a gang of toddler Michael It quickly developed a feel like that of a full-length feature of Sam from Trick 'r Treat. So while the premise wasn't 100% original, the setting it was building to was great. Girl home alone, stage set for various guests to arrive throughout as fodder. Unsettling trick 'r treaters behaving strangely. It was getting good. Then the film vomitted on itself.

What is with that pink haze? This film suddenly got dominated by this pink haze. The pink filter was irritating from the get-go and immediately took you out of the real-world tension that had been built. All of a sudden Alice has gone to Wonderland, and somehow this world is far less demented and frightening. The filter rarely leaves the rest of the film's runtime, and inevitably encapsulated the story's mistake in pursuing this demon baby from an unwanted pregnancy approach.

I thought the initial angle of our protagonist having to deal with these evil, murderous children on Halloween night when just finding out she is unexpectedly pregnant was subtle enough towards the complications and difficulties of young pregnancies. By keeping the film fairly grounded in the real world (but seriously, murderous clans of masked children are out there), it was a clever approach that was much better than the direction the story went. Instead, we get a teen version of Rosemary's Baby on acid, as the film slowly slips away from sensibility and structure. As mentioned in previous posts, it is difficult to pull off psychadelic storytelling effectively, and this film butchers it.

Robert Bring-Me-Back-To-The-Faculty Patrick does little to save the show. Our lead can barely hold on as the script seems to crumble around her into senselessness. We get a good sequence of her discovering and then using these demon children's weakness against them, but it all seems for not as the purpose of the film unravels with every scene, rather than coming to fruition. We are left with what seems like either a 9-month long nightmare encompassing the tragedies of teen pregnancy or one of those, "it was just a dream...or was it?" endings. Either way, it felt cheap as the credits rolled, as I just couldn't connect with the film's point. The kids just shouldn't have had an agenda, and, ironically thereby, the director's agenda may have been more artistically effective.

Horror Qualifier: 6/10

Horror Quality: 3/10

Film Quality: 2/10

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