BITS 2016: Our Review Of ‘Holy Hell’

Posted in BITS 2016, Festival Coverage, Movies, Theatrical by - November 26, 2016
BITS 2016: Our Review Of ‘Holy Hell’

I have seen a lot of movies in my time.  I’ve seen good movies and bad movies along the way but I have never seen a movie as unpleasant and lacking in merit as Holy Hell.

The film follows Father Augustus Bane, a priest who lives in a town which seems to be populated almost exclusively by criminals and deviants.  After he and a local family are brutalized by a group of gangsters, Bane leaves the church behind and becomes a gun toting vigilante whose sole mission is to rid his town of each and every last sinner.

The plot sounds promising enough but the film is an unmitigated disaster.  It tries hard to be outrageous and offensive and succeeds in spades, making fun of the transvestites, dead babies and the disabled to name just a few.  The comic violence, overt sexuality and profanity heavy dialogue are probably meant to be edgy but are unfortunately just repugnant.  The over the top costumes, music and set pieces add to the film’s nightmarish fun house feel and while it succeeds in embodying the anarchist attitude is clearly strives for, it also manages to be unfalteringly repulsive and juvenile from beginning to end.

Perhaps some of this could have been forgiven in a well made film but it’s not even that.  It feels like it was made on a whim by a few friends on a Saturday afternoon.  The acting, writing and directing are beyond terrible.  In fact, some of the actors don’t even bother to stay in character long enough to get out of the shot and others aren’t able to keep a straight face while saying their lines.  I’m glad they had fun at least because I sure didn’t.  Sitting through this entire movie was hell indeed.

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Galadriel fell in love with the movies when she was taken to see Superman at the age of three. Legend has it she watched the whole thing standing up with her jaw on the floor. She went on to see Superman four more times in the theatre and developed a lifelong passion for film. Galadriel earned a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto which she parlayed into a ten year stint at Blockbuster Video and more recently a career in nursing. But some things never change – she still loves movies and counts Gone with the Wind, Amadeus, The Shawshank Redemption, La Dolce Vita and the films of Michelangelo Antonioni among her favourites. She is also obsessed with the Oscars and knows more about them than any one person should. Galadriel currently lives in Toronto with her husband and young daughter who is soon to see her very first movie in the theatre.