In recent years, several films from the horror genre are attempting to infuse an element of social consciousness into their narratives. While there are still a substantial amount of movies that rely on jump scares, there are those creators, who are trying to find a thread of relevance to the times they are living in. While the inclusion of genre tropes or of commentary is not mutually exclusive, some recent examples have yielded a striking impact. The new Polish horror-thriller film – ‘Hellhole’, directed by Bartosz M. Kowalski, is trying to do the same and is streaming on Netflix. If you are looking for a good scare this Halloween with an impressive atmospheric world-building, Hellhole would be a great choice.
Hellhole (2022) Movie Plot Summary and Movie Synopsis
The screenplay of Hellhole is written by the film’s director, Bartosz M. Kowalski along with Mirella Zaradkiewicz. The narrative of this horror movie begins in Lower Silesia (Central Europe) in 1957, where a car enters a mysterious place. A man walks out of this car and enters the church with a baby in his hands. While he is about to put a knife through the little one’s chest while calling it a ‘seed of evil’, two officers burst the door wide open and threaten to kill the old man. He pleads to them for mercy, stating the importance of what he is doing. Yet, he gets shot dead within the next few moments and the narrative switches to 30 years later.
In 1987, Father Marek (Piotr Zurawski) travels to a church and gets welcomed by their Prior (Olaf Lubaszenko). The church is supposedly called a Sanatorium. People considered to be possessed by the devil were sent to this eerie sanatorium, and Marek enters as one of the exorcists. There was no way he could contact the outside world for the lack of a phone or electricity to connect. When he is escorted to his room and left alone, he opens his suitcase filled with a gun, a camera and a newspaper clipping about a missing woman. Marek is a police investigator who has entered the church to investigate the mysterious disappearances of several women.
The Prior introduces Marek to the daily proceedings of the church, where he is given a ghastly meal to eat. When he finds the offering vile, he goes along with eating it, not being perceived as someone odd or different. The clergy, sometime later, is called upon for an exorcism where Marek is fed the knowledge about the importance of exorcism and its ritualistic side. He sees a deceased woman on the bed, lying, where one of the priests is recording the incident while the exorcism is being performed by singing holy verses. She screams in anger and pain. But the procedure continues. Disgusted by witnessing it in person, Marek starts puking. Yet when he sees himself in a broken mirror and tries touching it, the mirror starts breaking further in front of his eyes.
He tries to find different ways to escape the scary place apart from investigating the case that he is working on. During his search, he finds undeniable signs of supernatural forces lurking around in the church, with the mirror incident, with the cross in his room moving by its own accord, or hearing strange noises coming from the cupboard. He also finds signs indicating the exorcism he attended to be staged by the clergy by making the bed move and the wind gush to make it seem real. As a result, he senses something even more sinister brewing under the surface.
The rumors go around about Marek’s attempts at escape, and monk Piotr (Sebastian Stankiewicz) warns him not to do so since there is no way out. When Piotr himself tried escaping, he had gone through a gruesome attack by the others. Marek confesses being a part of the militia and has come to the church due to the hints his department received linking the church to the disappearances. While he agreed to Marek’s claims of the exorcisms being staged, he councils him not to proceed with his investigation. While he realized that exorcism is fake, he is yet to find out what happens to the dead bodies afterward.
During one of his meals, his tooth falls out and he goes to know further what caused it. He walks around in the interiors and stumbles upon a room full of dead bodies having been chopped and realizes the cannibalism happening inside these closed doors. Piotr scares him by showing up at the time and seems surprised seeing the bodies. He mentions the holy text that suggests Marek being the ‘chosen one’. The monks wanted him to come inside so that they can perform the ritual to bring the devil back. Piotr notes since he did not get killed and is now seen by the Satan-worshipping monks as a necessary factor for their ritualistic practice to call in the devil.
While Piotr tries showing Marek a way out, suddenly several priests show up around him and take him to the sanatorium. Piotr was only acting to be sympathetic all this time, to lure Marek toward the procedure. He realizes that the clergy put out a claim of missing girls being in the sanatorium to lure him inside. They consider humans to be evil and not the devil. The brotherhood was waiting for about 800 years for the birth of chosen one, i.e. him. They believed that evil would emerge from the gateway in the church and get inside the chosen one’s body, after which they would become his apostles and run the new world. They perform a ritual by slatting a woman’s throat and making Marek drink her blood. But it becomes unsuccessful, unlike what the texts say. As a result, they decided to throw Marek’s body into the well.
Hellhole (2022) Movie Ending Explained:
Does Marek manage to escape the sanatorium?
Saddened by this turn of events, The Prior started heavily drinking to numb his pain. was disappointed with the turn of events and consumed alcohol to numb the pain of his failure. Piotr considers Prior to being the reason for the ritual being unsuccessful and kills him with a pillow over his face. He seems to have been selfish all along to fulfil his own desire to lead the clergy. While he kills the Prior, the cross in that room starts rotating, indicating the presence of the devil. Meanwhile, Marek wakes up and while he had sensed something strange going on until then, he senses it in his own body and gets burnt to dust within a few moments. He does not manage to escape the sanatorium or find the missing girls as per his mission.
Later, when Piotr conducts a prayer service for the dead Prior, he chokes and starts levitating. His skull bursts open and several flies leave his body, entering possibly the gateway toward hell. Not long after that, the Sabbatical goat (the Baphomet) appears in the church. While the frightened priests try to escape the sanatorium, they get frozen and then get levitated upside down. The dead flowers start turning fresh. The resurrection of dead bodies might start in the same manner. With the sky being wide open with a thunderstorm, it seems like the new world order has been set in motion. While we don’t understand Marek’s history or what made him the chosen one, the narrative of logical investigation certainly gets superseded by the one about the presence of the supernatural.