Director Marc Fratto best known for Zombies Anonymous (2006) which served as reunion tour for a few cast members, issues a new direction in occult horror, with his screenplay for Hell Fire, a film about the lackadaisical Antichrist and a confusing kidnapping. His story comes across as a well written, witty in temperament and fits the cast incredible, keeping them in their comfort level and yet having an entertaining movie with colorful flights of insanity, reflecting wondrous designs of horror.
Fratto’s creativity and ability to tell a story through the dialogue and visuals makes some of the grindhouse elements shine in stellar measures, while enhancing the grittiness to a razor sharp contest with color spectrum. The plot starts with a group of prostitutes tired of working on their backs for scraps and hear of the big score, with big numbers, with a key man involved known for the most part as The Man, though he goes by another name. The team involves Justine, Destinee and Cinnamon (Katelyn Marie Marshall; Jennice Carter; Kasey Williams respectively) and leader by Rosetta (Selene Beretta) ready to battle their pimp Dark Gable (Chris Davis). While in the closed-door meeting The Man and other pimps speak in coded language about receive just deserve goods then the ladies enter, with one of guards reading a Weird NJ book, and all insanity breaks loose. Full onslaught of execution occurs from the sadistic hands of Rosetta the search of the big payoff comes up empty, rising anger causes numerous murders, one kidnapping and Cinnamon shot and mishandle escape to customer’s vacation home. The Man identifies himself as the antichrist, which gets the rolling of eyes, as it should, as his powers are puny, only truly working in moments of torture. Joshua Nelson plays a minor as Baby Daddy, whose acting background extends from the award winning independent film, By Her Hand, She Draws You Down, directed by Anthony G. Sumner and worked with Alan Rowe Kelly, shows why he’s a rising talent. The Antichrist, richly played by J. Scott Green, who resurrects the dead, and later learns his newest love interest holds a very special bond with him.
The aspect that horror fans have come to expect from the one called the Antichrist is that he is all knowing, capable of handling all adversaries, well define, experience and vast knowledge. None of this exists in Green’s character, he ‘s no Damien Thorn, in any age group nor a descendent of Al Pacino’s son’s character Kevin Lomax, no a tad to scruffy not polished. The Antichrist’s talents for reading minds, very inept and telekinesis thoroughly embarrassing, and makes one wonder if he is the real deal or a poor malfunctioning demon. However, for all parties in the movie, he learns to control and overcome, and with no assistance from his father, even the Devil knows at sort the children must leave the nest and learn to experience life on their own, ah free will.
The special effects from Melissa Roth pull together some incredible moments, and perhaps firsts in cinema history such as a heel to the eye socket and the clear removal of it to show the audience. Then an exquisite projectile bloodied tooth into a wall, something this horror fan had not seen before, and one more reason to stay focused to the screen for this movie. Fratto maintains an even set with a by-the-numbers production, with fluid motion, fueling each scene completely with action and texture. This is not to state that the movie didn’t have flaws, certain shot angels and harsh cuts, and sound quality lacking in fighting scenes, but a well-adjusted b-movie filled of occult themes and plenty of horror.
A few delicious gore scenes, all in vivid tantalizing color, splashes of twisted humor, piling in on cheesy lines, and campy fun, blood and guts inventiveness nothing redone here, just gruesome methods of killing. The grindhouse elements play wonderfully in the film, and keep a gutter mentality with trash cinema qualities, the type of film for the more hardcore nature fans, that enjoy disgusting gore. This production is truly worthy of a distribution through Midnight Releasing and fans of this company know exactly what they expect and humble deserve more independent quality films from Marc Fratto and filmmakers like him.