Hellhounds is the tale of Kleitos and Princess Demetria—a “Greek” soldier and his bride to be. When Demetria is poisoned on their wedding day by a jealous friend, Kleitos enlists the help of a witch to travel to Hades and retrieve his bride’s soul. The soldier and his loyal friends—each with their own unidentifiable accents—make their voyage into the underworld only to face the wrath of Hades’ hounds when they arrive. They must escape with Demetria’s soul and reunite it with her physical body before Hades claims her as his bride. All the while, the four-legged beasts are hot on their trail for a taste of blood.
Usually made-for-television movies really aren’t trying to be anything they’re not. Hellhounds often seems like it’s exceeding its grasp due to the script’s melodramatics. You get the feeling director/NYPD Blue actor Ricky Schroeder is trying to tap into that 300 style of storytelling, but it falls short. If you’re looking for stimulating dialog or even good acting, look elsewhere. Expect plenty of vacant expressions and emotionless delivery from the cast, especially stone-faced lead Scott Elrod.
For a film that’s supposed to be about hounds from hell, the plot meanders quite a bit before they even come into play. When they finally become part of the plot, they add little excitement to the story. Cheap special effects and the occasional gaffe don’t amount to much of a film, but at the very least it’s brief.
Hellhounds is presented in Widescreen to preserve the aspect ratio of the original television broadcast. There are no subtitles. The contrast of the picture is average, as are the black levels utilized throughout. Various landscapes provide the most interesting use of color in the film.
Audio is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound. There are no alternate foreign language tracks. The dialog is always front and center. Ambient underworld sound effects and other spooky sounds creep into the mix from time to time. Composer Luc St-Pierre’s moody, fanfare-flourished soundtrack makes good use of the surround sound. The hounds themselves may not be much to look at, but they deliver quite a sonic punch.
There are no special features with this film.
If a little more time had been spent on the actual script and production value, this could have been a fun fantasy flick. Instead, the 87-minute film feels like you’re walking through a poorly designed carnival funhouse. Hellhounds’ bark is bigger than its bite.