It’s hard coming-of-age as a witch. What with all the blood spewing, possible demonic possession, and out-of-control powers. But it turns out, it can be deliciously creepy as well. Hellbender promises all this and more when it arrives on Shudder. The movie will begin streaming on February 24, but we can watch an early tease right now.
Hellbender‘s official description shares:
16-year-old Izzy leads an isolated life on a lonely mountaintop. All she’s learned is from her protective mom and the wilderness that swallows them. Izzy dreams of a live gig, but her mother thinks she’s too sick and mustn’t be around others. Questioning her illness and starved for companionship, Izzy sneaks down the mountain where she befriends brazen Amber. Izzy is in heaven until a cruel drinking game with a live worm unleashes a new kind of hunger.
Isolation? Wilderness? Witchiness? Check, check, check. If you’re missing Yellowjackets, this may be the perfect movie to watch next. There even seems to exist a clear theme of “devouring.” On that note, though we haven’t seen it yet, we feel Hellbender provides a clear moral. Do not eat live worms. They may open a gateway to hell inside of you.
In any case, we feel excited by this occult preview. We’ve written before about how the figure of the Witch feels very queer. And it’s exciting to see more stories take the entity farther and farther. Witches deserve coming-of-age stories too, after all. Many of us can relate. And honestly, many of us can relate to wanting a trove of hidden gothic powers to awaken within us. Who wouldn’t want to bend hell?
Where this story resolves or even is going isn’t 100% clear. But Hellbender‘s atmosphere. Its horror. The eerie fairy tale quality of it. That’s all perfect. The vibes, as they say, are immaculate.