One long, dark night in the 1930s a group of friends descend upon a dilapidated house in England. Victor (Charlie Robb), a buffoonish, rich layabout has bought a crumbing mansion belonging to a famed occultist and invited his pals along to dinner. In attendance are Victor’s sister Christine (Margaret Clunie) a femme fatale straight out of noir. Christine is a chain-smoking, vampy brunette with Veronica Lake hair, dark lips and a fine line in snarky banter who is never without a glass in her hand. Christine is the ex of George (Tom Baily), a wonderfully stereotypical Texan and son of an oil magnate (don’t call him Junior!) who has a magnificent moustache and an ever-present pistol. Also along for the ride are Freddie (Timothy Renouf), a failing and very smarmy tennis player and his adorably shy girlfriend Elisabeth (Jessica Webber) blonde as Christine is dark, whose job as a secretary sets her out immediately as having a different class status to the others. One extremely ill-advised séance later and all hell breaks loose. Literally.
Here Comes Hell is a clever, brilliantly acted, period drama/haunted house story which turns its budgetary limitations into a boon with ingenious storytelling. Its shtick is that it is a very modern, ultra low budget British indie horror movie which has been painstakingly crafted to look like a horror film from the 1930s. The piece begins with a warning to the audience of the nightmares that we are about to watch. Director Jack McHenry (who also wrote the screenplay with Alice Sidgwick) shoots in glorious black and white, in 4.3 ratio, with era-specific title cards and special effects that look purposefully ropey. Everyone talks in beautiful RP in that terribly clipped and overly mannered way actors used to before a more natural style of acting took other. The set up does genuinely look like you could be watching a 1930’s print of a long lost horror. Once all hell breaks loose it borrows a little too heavily from The Evil Dead but it’s all so jolly and entertaining I couldn’t hold that against it. One particular bonkers special effect had me in stitches. It’s remarkably well acted as well with all five leads clearly having an absolute riot. Yes, they’re playing archetypes – film noir femme fatale, virginal blonde heroine, handsome cad etc but they do an exceptionally good job of it.
Hugely entertaining and ingeniously put together Here Comes Hell is a spooky riot of fun.
Here Comes Hell is out in the UK from Signature Entertainment and Frightfest Presents on digital HD on 11 November 2019.