Sometimes You Have to Roll With the Punches: Hell's Coming For You (2023) - Review

Hell's Coming For You (2023) starts with a bang. A family is enjoying an idyllic excursion on the beach, soaking up the sun and fishing in the ocean. In the distance, a bright red vehicle approaches, driving in the shallows and barreling straight toward the shore. Upon reaching the sand, they pull out automatic rifles and spray everyone with bullets, adults and children alike. Young Liam Hell catches a bullet in his lower back but doesn't die instantly. In a moment of pity, the assassins don't finish the job, leaving Liam paralyzed from the waist down. Ironically, Liam grows up and enters the same profession that disabled him: killer-for-hire. After an illustrious career, he's ready for retirement, but will the organization let him live his life in peace?

Liam is played by comedian Dillion Dilligaf, who is disabled in real life. Instead of making the narrative a tragedy, the film proceeds like a regular action-packed thriller, with clever concessions to accommodate Liam's mobility and skill set. For example, Liam has a wheelchair-accessible van, which shows him using the motorized lift to get in and out of it, but he also fills it to the brim with all his gear and weapons. He also has a caretaker/best friend named Eddie (Tim Chizmar), who helps him at home but is also his partner on missions. It never feels condescending though there are a few moments where the writing is tongue-in-cheek about Liam's situation. One such scene has Liam zooming his scooter around one of his victims as they lay helpless and bloody on the floor.

The vibe is never somber, and the aesthetic has a trashy '90s direct-to-video feel that is quite entertaining. One could imagine this film getting a lot of play late at night on USA Up All Night. When there isn't gory action, there are copious amounts of boobs and sexual situations, which is practically required for this kind of story. Liam's performance is more subdued than expected, but he does get to show his comedic chops later in the film when he does a set at a comedy club (fiction mirroring reality). Eddie's character is very entertaining, and with his frosted tips, he reminded me of the lead singer of Smash Mouth, which added an additional layer of hilarity to his performance.

Action-wise, the set pieces are well done, and I liked how they made Liam an expert sniper, which makes sense with his limited mobility. There are a few situations where the audience will have to suspend their belief, but overall, it's plausible that Liam could easily pull off his hits. The main negative is the romance between Liam and his neighbor Amanda (Tonya Todd), a woman in an abusive relationship. It just moves too quickly and doesn't feel believable or earned. I would have also liked to have seen more of Liam's past as a hitman; his character overall felt a little thin and underdeveloped. Other than those few quibbles, Hell's Coming For You is an amusing low-budget piece with an exciting concept.

--Michelle Kisner