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Hellbride (2007)
Writer and director: Pat Higgins

review by James A. Stewart

The title of this film seems to suggest that there is going to be an almighty horror story coming to pass with the main protagonist being an evil bride. Indeed, the DVD cover is also guilty of leading the viewer down this route as well, but it is actually quite difficult to bracket Hellbride in any single genre. This is a horror, comedy, romantic diversion with sprinklings of mod intrigue fused with some supernatural slashing. So, if that is your bag, go get it.

For this Pat Higgins (KillerKiller) movie, the lack of a defined market at which to shoot this offering at could be its undoing, which is a bit of a shame because whilst there is much to irk about this movie, there is some merit to quite a fair proportion of it too.

The hell bride in Hellbride is Nicole (Rebecca Herod) who begins to experience disturbing visions after her fianc� gives her a second-hand engagement ring. The ring is, of course, cursed. Over a century before, Josephine Stewart, the original owner of the ring, was cheated on by her fianc� and, instead of calling off the wedding, she went ahead before murdering her husband and committing suicide on their big day. This is a sure fire way to create a cursed object if ever there was one. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, etc. So, cheapskate Lee's purchase of the ring leads to a series of violent scenes and some quite slapstick ones to boot.

There are some technical aspects of the movie that get in the way of the flow. The dialogue is generally quite strong but at times can seem quite expository, especially the voiceovers. One of the weird things about the voiceovers is the lack of consistency, one minute we have serious 'the end is nigh' proclamations, then a wee joke is dropped in for no apparent reason. Imagine Freddie Kruger and Tommy Cooper were the scriptwriters and you get the picture.

In all of this, the viewer is never quite sure whether the British-made film is angling at a romance story with lashings of laughs where good triumphs over evil or whether it is a gore fest in the making. It never really does either to be honest. Despite this struggle to identify with the film's overarching intention, it is still a quite enjoyable diversion. This is like something Channel Four will show on a dark winter's evening.

Hellbride is a low-budget, British film with a talented cast, it is well shot and a potential stepping stone to bigger things for Pat Higgins in particular. Should the director develop a ruthless streak and cut some of the crap and ambiguity he could go on to be a major force in British film.

Hellbride



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