From the minds of John Adams, Toby Poser, and their daughter Zelda Adams, comes Hellbender, a family-focused twist on the usual coming-of-age story, starring Zelda and her sister, Lulu Adams. Lonely, homeschooled teen Izzy (Zelda Adams) spends her days exploring the beautiful forest surrounding her home and playing in a punk band with her mother (Toby Poser), who ensures Izzy’s seclusion from the outside world due to an unknown illness. But after consuming a worm, Izzy discovers some dark family secrets.

On the outskirts of Izzy and her mother’s property reads a sign that says, “beware of, well, just beware,” a vague warning to viewers of what’s to come, though nothing can really prepare you for the awesome ride ahead. There’s some truly nightmarish imagery that is accentuated by the colour grading and some impressive visual effects. The location chosen for this film is perfect, and thanks to the skilful eyes of everyone involved, makes the horrors within appear beautiful, an interesting contrast, as if speaking to the bewildering experience of getting older. 

Hellbender isn’t solely focused on the terror, but rather on the relationship between a mother and her daughter. At the heart of this film lies a young girl trying to navigate the world while being confused and excited at the changes that are happening to her, and a mother who just wants to help, all of this made even more special because of their real life relationship.

This original take on witchcraft is an experience that’s gripping from start to finish, with an incredibly talented family on and off screen who have all come together in every facet, from directing, editing, and producing their own music, to put forth another fascinating piece of art.



CAST: Zelda Adams, Toby Poser, Lulu Adams

DIRECTORS: John Adams, Zelda Adams, Toby Poser

WRITERS: John Adams, Zelda Adams, Toby Poser

SYNOPSIS: A lonely teen discovers her family’s ties to witchcraft.