Hellhounds (2009)
By: Devon B. on January 30, 2013 | Comments
Sony | Region 4, PAL | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 | 83 Minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Ricky Schroder
Starring: Scott Elrod, Adam Butcher, Amanda Brooks, J.A. Woods
Screenplay: Paul A. Birkett, Jason Bourque
Country: USA
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After many years of watching bad movies, I've learned to spot a few signs that a movie will be bad. If it's set in outer space and has a leprechaun, it's probably bad. If it's a movie that stars Liv Tyler, it's probably bad. One thing that I probably would've assumed was a bad movie indicator has recently been confirmed. When I popped on Hellhounds I saw the director was Ricky Schroder. I thought to myself, "Wasn't that the kid in Silver Spoons?" but then I thought, "No, it couldn't be. I must be remembering his name wrong since I haven't seen the show in 20 years." My memory had not let me down, the kid from Silver Spoons has taken to directing TV movies with little aplomb.

Hellhounds is the story of princess Demetria, a young lady who is murdered on her wedding day. Her extremely disappointed to have not made it to the wedding night husband Kleitos ain't letting her go 'till he gets in her robe, and after he finds out she's been taken by Hades to the Underworld he rallies a band of merry men in an attempt to get her back, with the entire group risking their own eternal damnation. Viewers paying any sort of attention will work out that there's a traitor in the group's midst, and those that read the back of the cover will know said traitor ends up tracking the group with the titular hounds.

Hellhounds look like it cost about $6, and its budget constraints really hold it back. I was worried right away because the opening is just some people in robes and it all looks very modern so I was unable to suspend my disbelief even temporarily to think that I was watching events in ancient Greece. This did not bode well for the Underworld, which the production was unable to successfully realise. The hounds themselves are awkward CG, and while I was able to forgive that due to budget constraints, I really struggled to accept Hades, who was made up like a reject from a low budget Demons knock off. The low budget also prevented the film from hiring well-seasoned thespians, so most of the acting is bad. I can make concessions for a film's budget impacting many of its aspects, but one area I'm less forgiving is the script because it doesn't have to cost more to write good dialogue instead of bad dialogue. True, good and established writers may have been out of Hellhounds reach, but surely there's some unknown somewhere that could've done a better job than this? The dialogue is very unnatural, which is in part due to the bad acting, but it's also written in a stilted "old world" style that probably has all the old Greeks rolling in their graves.

I didn't hate Hellhounds but it also wasn't worth my time. The only target audience I can imagine for this film is if someone in the family has outgrown Percy Jackson but is still too young to pick up on shoddy production values.
The Disc
Hellhounds looks shot on video at times, which doesn't help present the idea this is an ancient Greek legend. The image is clear and clean, but there is a little trailing. It looks good for a low budget film, actually, the SOV vibe just doesn't suit the material. There was one scene that had a few image flickers and audio drop outs which must've slipped past Sony's quality control. The stereo mix is serviceable but nothing of note. This extras menu is emptier than a neutered dog's nutsack.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
There was another movie like this called Minotaur, but I was surprised that wasn't too bad. Hellhounds is about the quality I was expecting from Minotaur, a low budget, poorly realised Greek myth. The DVD would be fine except for the fall outs, so people that aren't concerned by a few seconds of poor authoring (or 83 minutes of boredom) might be pleased with the release.

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