I’m a cat lover and not afraid to admit it. So naturally, I was drawn to a film that is centered around a possessed cat that seeks to sabotage every relationship her owner enters into because as I and most people know, cats are jerks.
Synopsis: Based on the web series and comic book of the same name, and inspired by writer-director Nicholas Tana’s experiences living with a professedly possessed cat, Hell’s Kitty tells of a covetous feline that acts possessed and possessive of his owner around women. The results are as funny as they are frightening! Nick, a Hollywood screenwriter, discovers his cat has become murderously possessed, and will stop at nothing to rid him of any women in his life. As his life unravels out of control, Nick must find a way to have his kitty exorcised of the demonic spirit haunting her and creating a body count. (Wild Eye Releasing)
Starring: Doug Jones, Michael Berryman, and Nina Hartley
Writer: Nicholas Tana
Director: Nicholas Tana
Running Time: 98mins
But that is the extent of what makes Hell’s Kitty interesting. For the rest of the film, the viewer is subjected to poorly lit scenes inhabited by a blandly written lead character, Nick, his quirky best friend and a parade of strange women that may or may not have something to do with the cat’s strange behavior. All of this is conducted in the form of a flashback story as Nick is explaining all of this to his therapist in search of advice. To make matters worse, somehow Hell’s Kitty also boasts many famous horror film actors such as Michael Berryman, Courtney Gains, John Franklin and the most surprising of all, Doug Jones. These actors are sprinkled throughout the film and appear reciting lines as if they owed a debt to the film’s producer. Their roles are a welcomed addition to the film and help provide some levity to Hell’s Kitty attempt at horror satire and Doug Jones’ Father Damien is one of the best characters in the film partly due to being able to see him out of layers of makeup and also because he coughs up a literal hairball.
Something Hell’s Kitty did succeed on was it’s amazing attention to makeup effects. Some of the facial decay, blood and wounds looked incredibly real and were the shining parts of this film. The best example of this talent was with the stripped flesh from a cheekbone from one of Nick’s former girlfriends who has come back to visit him in a dream. It’s a truly disturbing wound that is made worse as she begins to pick and pull at what remains. Sadly, that scene is the only thing that truly stood out as being something of worth from Hell’s Kitty besides Doug Jones. This is not to say that the film is completely terrible. Outside of the strong practical effects, some of the humor actually lands through witty one-liners mixed throughout the dialogue but they are quickly overshadowed by over-editing and a sagging script.
Hell’s Kitty is not necessarily worth a recommendation, however, there is worse out there which is a scary thought. There are many aspects of the film that simply could be done better though despite many failings, the things Hell’s Kitty does succeed at (the practical FX and usage of famous horror actors) they do exceptionally well. The main character grows tiresome very early in the film and the repetitive script only causes the supporting characters to be exposed as thinly written even more quickly. Most of my motivation that kept me watching until the end was because the way the crew shot Angel the cat slowly became more fascinating to watch, but I would not urge you to do the same. You would be better off going to your local Humane Society and just watch the cats for an hour and thirty-four minutes.
*Hell’s Kitty will be on VOD starting March 13 and on DVD March 27*