Planet Weird's 'HELLIER' Delivers on Promise of High Strangeness
The following review is of the first two episodes of HELLIER, which were provided to the Singular Fortean Society for viewing prior to the series’ premiere.
Planet Weird’s five-part documentary series HELLIER tracks the involvement of a team of investigators in a years-long hunt for the truth behind a baffling string of creature sighting reports and synchronicities.
Greg and Dana Newkirk, the investigative duo behind Planet Weird, are joined by ghost hunters Karl Pfeiffer and Connor James Randall, along with cameraman Rashad Sisemore, as they head into the hills of Kentucky in search of monsters.
The series begins by giving viewers a rare look into the lives of paranormal investigators Greg and Dana Newkirk as they candidly discuss the advent of their career in ghost hunting from their appropriately esoteric home in Cincinnati, Ohio—introducing the viewer not only to the Newkirks, but also to the series’ narrative by skillfully seguing into the mystery at hand.
A bit of backstory from Greg leads to raspy-voiced narration of an email detailing one family’s terror after being continuously harassed by “creatures…of an extraterrestrial nature" at their isolated home in Hellier, Kentucky. This email takes the investigators down a rabbit hole of synchronicity and high strangeness that ties Hellier to everything from the Kelly-Hopkinsville Goblins to the Dover Demon. The narrative focuses heavily on mystic elements, but there are a few photographs of physical evidence that feature prominently, which should whet the appetite of hardened materialists.
The series’ style will be familiar to fans of paranormal reality television, with neutral density camera filters and ambient soundscapes setting a cool, moody tone; but the show trades contrivance for authenticity and features boots-on-the-ground investigation in lieu of forced jump scares. By the second episode, the team is well entrenched in the isolated Appalachian town of Hellier; searching for clues in a desolate landscape of abandoned houses and rusting automobiles populated by locals who are equally friendly and enigmatic. Reenactments, shown sparingly, are shadowy and subdued, using silhouettes to represent the witnesses and leaving the creatures out almost entirely. The effect of these stylistic choices is to create a subtle environment of both mystery and menace into which the viewer is inexorably drawn; perched on the edge of their seat only to realize as they gasp at the next revelation that they’ve been holding their breath the entire time.
All episodes of HELLIER premiere free of charge on Friday, January 18th at 12:01 a.m. EST on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vimeo, and Hellier.tv. Check out Hellier.tv on January 18th for episode descriptions, downloads, detailed series information, behind-the-scenes looks, and special features. Follow @WeirdHQ and #HELLIER for more exclusive content and updates.
HELLIER is produced by Planet Weird. Executive producers for Planet Weird are Greg Newkirk and Dana Newkirk. HELLIER is directed by Karl Pfeiffer and co-produced by Connor Randall.
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