Hellmouth – 2014 – A Lovecraftian tale


I really had no idea what Hellmouth had in store for me. I know it was a fairly new movie. With that said I feel that I must elaborate a bit. Everything made after like 2010 is fairly new in my mind. I have a little problem with time perception and still think it’s 1983 or something. I’m exaggerating of course. But often I don’t realize that 2014 and 2022 are so far apart as they actually are. I guess that’s what happens to you when you reach a certain age. But enough about that.

The opening sequence

Already in the opening sequence, I had to check if Hellmouth was really from 2014 as it seem much older. It also starts out in black and white. Crystal sharp picture, but still black and white. I don’t mind that. I think it often gives a movie an interesting feel to it. And from the very first scene, Hellmouth is absolutely stunning! It starts out in a cemetery where this aging man Charlie Baker is attending things. He’s perfectly portrayed by Stephen Mchattie. He’s kinda a cross between a grumpy old man longing for his retirement and someone that really cares for his work and doesn’t let anything disturb it. When there is some vandalism going on. Knocked over headstones or graffiti or whatever he is very quick to report it. Of course, it seems like he cried wolf too many times so nobody believes him when he claims there is foul play going on.

It’s not really clear who he works for because there is no town or city and he seems to be in the middle of nowhere. Yet, there are kids taunting him. It feels very Lovecraftian in many ways. Something is going on but we don’t know what it is. And we don’t get any wiser as the film continues either. It gets more and more mysterious but we don’t seem to get any answers. I’ve seen critique about Hellmouth of just that. It’s so strange, and that the filmmakers must have taken that for a sign for Hellmouth to actually be good when it isn’t. Well, I don’t want to defend any decisions made or not made with this movie. But I can definitely say that I don’t agree with the statement. The strange and unfathomable storyline is absolutely a part of what makes this movie great for me.

German expressionism

If I don’t know what’s going on and still am eager to find out, that makes it very interesting to me. We get some clues and pieces here and there but for the most part, it’s very hard to comprehend. I think there is a bottom line there and I think there’s a message to be told. But that’s secondary to me. What’s important and Hellmouths greatest strength is the visuals. They’re absolutely stunning! I don’t know how much is CGI and how much is greenscreen but there’s definitely a lot of it! It looks totally beautiful, scary, and like a mix of German expressionism and Tim Burton in his best movies. I can’t help but think that the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’s director Robert Wiene’s ghost had something to do with the production.

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Tommy Snöberg Söderberg

Autodidact film scholar and music-loving thinker who reads the occasional book.

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