(2016)

Critic Reviews

64

Metascore

Based on 15 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Consequence of Sound
Holy Hell ropes us in with tales of delusion before chilling us with tales of terror.
80
Village Voice
Will Allen's sunny gut-punch cult exposé Holy Hell plays like a thriller, all right, with a darkness edging slowly over its swimsuit revelry, but Allen never cheats in the interest of suspense.
75
Holy Hell has an undeniable car-crash fascination, especially once Allen reveals just how deeply this particular phony guru abused the trust of his faithfuls.
70
Even by cult documentary standards, this one finds absurd depths in the peddling of enlightenment.
70
Holy Hell — despite its unprecedented access — finds itself oscillating back and forth between mediocrity and illumination.
67
Allen’s film is as much a self-reckoning as it is a cautionary tale for other spiritual seekers, and as such it offers invaluable insights into how cults – and especially cults of personality – function and grow. “Namaste,” for the record, is also an anagram for “Me Satan.”
60
Though the material is juicy and the interviews heartfelt, the doc doesn't completely succeed in efforts to explain the spell this and similar groups cast on their acolytes.
50
There's an undeniable anthropological value to Allen's footage — imagine if one of David Koresh's most-trusted disciples had recorded every second of his time in the Heaven's Gate — but his film is far more compelling as an artifact than it is as a narrative.
42
Despite its worthy plot and the wealth of great footage with which it had to work, Holy Hell is a mess.
38
Slant Magazine
It hopes to jolt audiences with OMGs instead of edifying them about the empty lure of Buddhafield's cult mentality.

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