George Popov, Jonathan Russell
George Popov, Jonathan Russell
Forced together under threat from a witch, two enemies must come together in order to survive. If that's not enough for you - did I mention this all takes place in the 1600's? Writers, directors George Popov and Jonathan Russell hope the answer is yes - because those few lines above pretty sum up "Hex" in all it's glory. Pretty much but not completely.
What really makes this film stand out, is the same thing that makes it slightly drag... just a little. It's the desolation. The long, droning desolation. Even when we're shown signs of civilization, it all looks so dreary - and of course, deserted. Why this works for the film is the period it's set. It's exactly what you would expect. Then, ever so slowly, you begin to feel the pang of depression. The isolation. Then bang it hits you! You're kind of creeped out as well. "Hex" relies on atmosphere first and cast performances second. Both aspects don't disappoint - but that long winded feeling does begin to creep in. A culmination of all that came before. It's only slight however, and clearly not enough to seriously hamper the film. For me anyhow.
And yet... this one was a tough one to rate. By the ending I was completely satisfied. I also can't fault that low, tense feeling of dread that kept bubbling up throughout the film. With all that said, I also can't deny asking myself, on a couple of occasions, how much of the movie was left? It may have happened only a couple times, but it did still happen. All this brings me back to my original analysis. What works so great for the film also hurts it. If only just a little. Never did I consider pressing the stop button - and after a minute or so, that winded feeling not only passed... but was forgotten each time.
As I'm sure you've guessed, "Hex" is a micro budget film - even by micro budget standards. Going from experience alone, this movie should have been unwatchable... or close to it. I've seen loads of indie flicks with massively heavier budgets, that were nowhere near as watchable, or good, as this one was... with almost nothing backing it. Popov and Russell prove you can do great things with a good idea, a great cast - and a lot of determination.
Plot? Let me just say that "Hex" really isn't that unique a story. Kind of a mash up of a bunch of other movies I've seen. What this film does - is use them well. I'm not going to spoil the story for you but can say this. You'll see pieces of other movies here, more like variations, but "Hex" still stands on it's own legs. With it's own story to tell. As for our leading men themselves? Gritty and believable. Completely. But what about the witch? She has very little actual screen time, but still manages to be quite memorable... especially during the last bit of the movie. When she started her story? I was instantly alert and aware. That ending shot? I was speechless. Let me just leave it at that.
"Hex" mixes the locations and props of a period piece, with the creeping terror of a slower paced horror flick. If you're one for atmosphere over fast paced jump scares, you'll get much more out of this than the latter. Had maybe a few minutes been shaved off, or edited slightly differently, I believe I would have scored "Hex" a little more. But there's nothing wrong with an above average three out of five. Especially for a micro budget film. Especially when the score is earned - because it did exactly what the directors intended. It wore at me until eventually... I was caught within the atmosphere. A solid three out of five.