WHERE THE DEVIL ROAMS (Fantasia Fest 2023) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

The cold, dark claws of poverty have left deep marks on the family of travelling carnival performers at the heart of Where the Devil Roams. In socio-economic carnage left by the Depression, father Seven (John Adams), mother Maggie (Toby Poser) and daughter Eve (Zelda Adams) combine their struggling sideshow gig with a far more successful side hustle where they murder and pillage from the houses they come across as they travel across America from town to town in their beat-up ‘31 Chevy. Period films are not an easy thing to do on a budget, but with the integrity to stay true to their creative vision, the Adams Family collective once again harmonize their talents to perfection and pull off something most indie filmmakers could never dream of.

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HELLBENDER – Review by Lauren Anderson

Hellbender is a coming-of-age horror movie in the witchy subgenre that has a rich history (think The Craft, Carrie, and even Jennifer’s Body). But the family filmmaking creativity behind this movie makes it noteworthy. What’s lacking in dialogue is made up for in trippy, gory scenes between mother and daughter that explore their rich history in witchcraft, making it worth the watch for avid horror fans.

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HELLBENDER (Fantasia 2021) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Izzy and her mother live an isolated but relatively happy life in the lush mountains, their reclusiveness supposedly because Izzy has a rare autoimmune disease. As Izzy soon learns, however, her mother has kept her squirrelled away from the world because they are both “Hellbenders”, defined as a hybrid of witches, demons and predatory animals. While her mother tells herself she has her powers under control, when Izzy learns that she too has these abilities, a mother-daughter power struggle collides with a supernatural coming of age story that at its heart is also a powerful tale of the maternal bond and that old chestnut, the circle of life. A film embossed with all the ferocity and heart and passion and craft of the most powerful of art, Hellbender is a reminder that when film like this is revealed as possible, we never should settle for less.

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