HERE COMES HELL *** UK 2018 Dir: Jack McHenry. 80 mins
Set in the 1930’s, shot in Lincoln and filmed in black and white in Academy ratio, this opens as a riff on Agatha Christie-infused old dark house murder mysteries and incorporates an initial straight-to-camera curtain-raising intro in the spirit of Carl Laemle’s onscreen scene-setting for Universal’s original FRANKENSTEIN.
In the fashion of the period’s comic horror mysteries, an ensemble cast are gathered at an imposing old mansion with a bad history. The previous owner was notorious occult artist Ichabod Quinn, and batty old medium Maureen Bennett is called in to perform a séance to contact him kicks off the second half mayhem. Among those imperilled are obnoxious celebrity tennis player Timothy Renouf, his lowly secretary girlfriend / wannabe ghost story writer Jessica Webber, grating American oil baron Tom Bailey and chirpy current owner Charlie Robb, who revels in his decrepit “work in progress” while Webber is patronised by high society.
The deliberately mannered performances and slow start make this a slightly grating and self-conscious slog for a while -but the shift from faux classical horror (somewhat in the spirit of Larry Blamire’s films) to frenetic, gory, 80’s-style possession flick transforms it into a rousing technical tour de force. Evidently influenced by THE EVIL DEAD and its successors (notably NIGHT OF THE DEMONS), the latter stages make up for the irritating characters by delivering a bravura array of cinematic tricks, in-camera FX, manic editing, warped visuals, meltdowns and all-round, free-wheeling lunacy.
Review by Steven West