(director/writer: J.T. Petty; screenwriter: from the graphic novel by J.T. Petty; cinematographer: Ryan Samul; editors: Joel Plotch/ Jacob Craycroft; music: Jeff Grace; cast: Clancy Brown(Father Angus), Clifton Collins Jr (Lawrence), Larry Fessenden (Detective Elrod),  Dan Fogler (Eric), Macon Bacon (Macon), Samantha Buck (Penelope), Stephen Gevedon (Clint), Robyn Rikoon (Elizabeth), Andre Royo (Stephen); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Jon S. Denny, Lawrence Mattis, David Moscow, Mark L. Pederson, Aldey Sanchez: Lionsgate Films; 2012)

It’s better in concept than in execution.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The title of this absurd wannabe cult religious horror flick refers to a Brooklyn-based group of interfaith ministers who are sinners. They are the ones who must stop a supernatural force from destroying mankind (the Norse demon named Black Surtr who has possessed the unfaithful new acolyte Elizabeth -Robyn Rikoon (she  must get them both to Hell). The director J.T. Petty (“Soft For Digging”/”S&man”) bases this oddball horror comedy on his graphic novel that was made on a shoestring budget.

The film’s best line is
“I’m a woman, and you’re a Catholic; everything I do is a sin to you.”

follows a bunch of ‘special-operations’ Catholic priests who do the exorcisms and hellish related things in New York City. This motley crew includes Father Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.), Father Angus (Clancy Brown), Father Stephen (Andre Royo), Father Macon (Macon Blair) and Father Eric (Dan Fogler). If the demon cannot be exorcised, then the priest must take on the possession themselves, as they will commit suicide and and go to Hell with the one who possessed them.

To reach Hell, means sinning all the time.

So the priests hang out at their
squalid headquarters, where they are  party animals, weed smokers, boozers, hate mongers and sex fiends.

The Clancy Brown character is the foul-mouthed, drunken priest leader.

It’s better in concept than in execution, as it never can find its way through the excesses of demonology without growing tiresome, annoyingly
irreverent and terribly removed from what it’s trying to poke fun at.

I didn’t see the 3-D version (which might have been a blessing in disguise).

Clancy Brown as the salty leader of a group of
      ministers in “Hellbenders.”

REVIEWED ON 4/2/2022  GRADE:  C+