Netflix’s “Hellhole,” directed by Bartosz M. Kowalski, is a Polish horror film that uses supernatural elements and the concept of pure Evil to induce fear. The constant experimentation with the genre has resulted in a reduction of the typical horror films that we once knew of. “Hellhole” is a typical horror film that revolves around an ancient dark ritual. In the film, the cross goes upside down, bodies levitate, and a man is reduced to a swarm of flies. Even though “Hellhole” creates a haunting atmosphere with well-composed shots, it is predictable and not quite engrossing.
‘Hellhole’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
In 1957, in Lower Silesia, a priest ran away with a baby and attempted to murder them at a church. The priest called the baby the “seed of evil” and raised a dagger to end the baby’s life. The police entered the scene and shot the priest before he could harm the baby. The baby had a scar on the left side of its chest. The scar marks the baby as “evil,” and the fact that the baby was saved confirms the return of Evil in the film.
After twenty years, a priest, Father Marek, goes to an eerie-looking church that the Prior refers to as the “sanitorium.” Those who were considered to have been possessed by the Devil were sent to the facility for treatment. Father Marek was an exorcist. He joined the sanitorium to help with their mission. The facility did not have electricity or a phone, meaning that there was no way to contact the world outside. After settling in his room, the father opened his suitcase to reveal a secret chamber in it where he stored a gun, a torch, and other essential goods that were not permitted within the premises. Clearly, Father Marek was aware of something sinister happening at the sanitorium. He had a newspaper cutting of a woman who disappeared, further explaining that he might have joined the sanitorium to find out what had happened to the woman. But what was even more interesting was that the father had the same mark that the baby possessed, indicating that the baby grew up to be Father Marek.
While the mission of Father Marek seemed logical and calculated, the presence of the supernatural was undeniable. The cross in his room moved, the washroom mirror cracked at a touch, and a low gurgling noise could be heard from the wardrobe. Father Marek attended the exorcism of a woman at the facility. She was tied to the bed and the Prior chanted holy verses that made her scream and screech. The bed moved violently, a gust of wind blew when the girl screamed, and ultimately, the cross that the Prior was holding caught on fire. These were the signs of devil possession, and the woman seemed to be possessed by the evil spirit. But Father Marek doubted it all. At night, he went into the chamber where the exorcism was performed and found it was all staged. There was a special mechanism that made the bed move, there was a machine for the wind to gush, and the crucifix had a system to light the fire. It is clear that the exorcism was a scam, but what happened to the girls after the alleged exorcism?
What Happened To The Girls Who Went Missing After Entering The Sanitorium?
The food that was served at the sanitorium smelled and tasted strange, but the priests needed to consume it. Father Marek struggled with the food. One day, as he was retching, he could feel a pain in his jaws. He pulled out a tooth from his mouth. It broke open, and a fly escaped. Marek could not find a reason for these strange incidents. A few days after the exorcism, the priests dug out a grave to place a coffin in it. Father Marek walked to the room where the girl was kept and saw that it was now empty. He knew that the girl must have been killed, but why? As he was trying to reason, the vice Prior, Piotr, stood behind him and asked him to wait for him in the confession room. Piotr explained that the church was watching him, and they did not trust Marek. He warned Marek to not make any foolish decisions because those who did not abide by the rules were severely punished. Piotr had attempted to escape from the place once, and he was brutally punished for it. Marek confided in Piotr that he was not a priest but a militiaman who was working on the case of the missing women in the area. His station received an anonymous tip confirming that the women who went missing were sent to the sanitorium because they were believed to be possessed. The militia did not wish to interfere directly with church affairs after a past incident (referring to when a priest was shot dead by the militia), which is why he had to pretend to be a priest to investigate the case. Piotr confirmed that the Prior faked the exorcism to extract money from the Curia and the Vatican. But Piotr did not know what actually happened to the women after the exorcism. That was what Marek had to find out.
Marek went into his room and tried to locate if any devices were kept to spy on him. He pushed the wardrobe aside and found a hole behind it. The cement felt wet around the hole. Marek reached his hand into the hole and found a strange object made out of bones and a moving eyeball. He threw the object away and puked a black substance out of his mouth. From the black liquid he threw up, he noticed flies in it that buzzed and flew away. As he turned away, he hallucinated, he saw his own face covered in the black liquid. He managed to step out of his room at night and dug the coffin out, only to find out it was empty. As he made this discovery, a man covered his face and took him away. Father Dawid and the Prior took him to his room and tied him to the bed. They force-fed him, stating that he had to have his food for medicinal purposes.
At night, when Father Dawid fell asleep, Marek used the opportunity to untie himself and later shot Dawid dead. He went to the kitchen to find out what was in the food. He opened the door of the freezer to find the bodies of the women who disappeared hanging from hooks. The bodies were dismembered. Marek realized that the priests practiced cannibalism, and he was fed the organs of the women he was trying to find. Piotr found Marek in the kitchen, and even though Marek doubted him, Piotr was able to win his confidence.
‘Hellhole’ Ending Explained: Who Was The Chosen One?
Piotr asked Marek to follow him to the library. He opened an ancient book and stated that the “chosen one” was born during an eclipse and had to be slain with a dagger right after birth. If the chosen one continues to live, then the chosen one will consume seven sinners and drink the blood of an innocent. After this ritual, the chosen one would transform into the demon, and a new world order would begin. Piotr explained that the church believed Marek was the “chosen one.” Marek was born with a scar that symbolized that he was the chosen one, which was why the priest tried to kill him right after birth. But the priests at the sanitorium seemed to be worshipping Satan and wanted to complete the ritual to call in the Devil. Piotr asked Marek to follow him into a secret passage through which they could go outside the sanitorium. As Marek followed Piotr, he heard a noise from behind. He was surrounded by priests who attacked him and took him back to the sanitorium. Piotr was never sympathetic to Marek; it was all a lie to win his trust and stop him from escaping.
Marek was tied down, and he was surrounded by all the priests at the church. The Prior explained that they were the ones who had provided him with the anonymous tip to lure him to the sanitorium. The priests believed that God and the Devil sat side by side, and the two shared an understanding. They did not consider the Devil to be Evil but rather believed that humans were evil and deserved to be punished by the Devil. The church was built around the gateway to hell (a well), and for 800 years, the brotherhood had been waiting for the birth of the chosen one. They believed that the Evil One would emerge from the gateway to hell and enter the body of the chosen one, and a new order on Earth would begin. They dreamt of being the Devil’s apostles, helping him run the new world. While they managed to feed Marek parts of the bodies of sinners, he was yet to consume the blood of the innocent. They brought a girl and slashed her throat. The blood gushed out of her throat. The priests collected the blood and consumed it. They forcefully made Marek drink the blood as well. They called upon the Devil, but nothing happened. The Prior was devastated. This was what the book had instructed them to do for the Devil to enter the body of the Chosen One, but for some reason, it was not working. Piotr took a dagger and pushed it into Marek’s body. It was announced that the ritual was not a success and that Marek’s body must be thrown into the well.
The Prior was disappointed with the turn of events and consumed alcohol to numb the pain of his failure. Piotr entered the room and helped him go to bed. He believed that the Prior was, in a way, responsible for the way the event turned out. He suffocated the Prior to death with a pillow, knowing that after the death of the Prior, he would be the one to take his position. While Piotr’s selfish motive is unleashed, the cross in the Prior’s room is turned upside down, indicating the Devil’s presence. Meanwhile, Marek woke up. He was surrounded by bones. He could feel something taking over him, and he transformed into the Devil. The next morning, as Piotr was conducting a prayer service for the Prior, he choked. He could not speak any longer, and he lost control of his body. His body levitated, it deformed, and his skull burst open, allowing thousands of flies to leave his body. It seemed as if his body was made of flies, and all the flies swarmed into the gateway to hell. Within a few minutes, the Sabbatical goat, or the Baphomet, entered the church, shocking the priests. As the priests tried to run away, they froze and levitated. Every human present there was suspended in the air and turned upside down. The dead flowers turned fresh, indicating that the dead would come to life and those living would perhaps die. With the Devil’s presence, the sky broke open, and thunder rumbled, symbolizing that the Earth had turned into hell and the new world order had commenced.
While the dream of becoming the Devil’s apostle remained unfulfilled, the brotherhood was able to call the Devil on Earth to punish humans and begin a new world. “Hellhole” tried to be logical while dealing with the investigation of the missing girl, but ultimately the supernatural element took over the entire film. The falling out of Marek’s tooth, and the puking of the black liquid, symbolized that he was slowly consumed by the Devil. The women were sacrificed to bring the Devil to Earth. What remains unknown is whose baby Marek was and why he was marked Evil from birth. Was he born out of wedlock or something sinister? Considering how the world turned upside down, Marek’s past and personal history no longer seemed to be the film’s concern.
“Hellhole” is a 2022 Drama Horror film directed by Bartosz M. Kowalski.