Courtesy Cinedigm
A pregnant woman living in fear. A murderous ex. Satanic metal cults. These aren’t today’s trending topics on Twitter, it’s the synopsis for WELCOME TO HELL – the latest Argentinean horror film from director Jimena Monteoliva and writer Camilo De Cabo.

Premiering first at Spain’s Sitges Film Festival before heading to the Buenos Aires International Film Festival, this Screambox Original follows Lucia, a terrified mother-to-be as she navigates escaping an abusive-turned-murderous relationship. Currently living in a cabin in the forest with her mute grandmother, we follow Lucia through her day-to-day life since leaving her ex-boyfriend. The lead singer of a satanic death metal band, Monk-as his bandmates call him-has been searching for Lucia since her departure. Through flashback scenes, we see how Lucia and Monk met and how their relationship soon became violent, before eventually taking a darker and deadlier turn.

Throughout the first act of WELCOME TO HELL, there is hardly any dialogue making this part of the movie ambient and even quaint at times. We see Lucia bike to her local convenience store, make friends with a local stray dog, and every so often her grandmother leaves her cryptic notes. At the time, these seem random but once the movie progresses, they become more and more prophetic of what’s to come.

Scenes of her living day-to-day are shot in the lush forest surrounding her grandmother’s cabin and are a stark contrast to the cold, dark flashbacks of her life with Monk and his bandmates.
This slow beginning to the film is effective in building dread and only ramps up as we reach the story’s culmination.

Although WELCOME TO HELL is rooted in fiction, the issues it raises are very real. Domestic violence, femicide, and the anxieties of being a new mother are all topics that are explored throughout the film without being heavy-handed. It does a good job of slowly building background while we see Lucia grapple with the haunting thought that Monk could be coming to get her at any moment.

Part Satanic Panic flick, part home invasion, we even get a little bit of a retro feel throughout the opening credits, WELCOME TO HELL is a slow burn that peaks in a blood-soaked and surprising plot twist. It dives into real-world topics while weaving a story that while predictable at first, gets completely turned on its head in the final act.

WELCOME TO HELL (Bienvenidos al Infierno) is available on Digital and streaming exclusively on Screambox on July 12.

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