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Holy Hell

HD   Unrated Closed Captioning

Will Allen

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About the Movie

In 1985, recent film school graduate Will Allen became a member of The Buddhafield, a Los Angeles area spiritual group. Also acting as the group's official videographer, he began to document their activities, which centered on the mysterious leader they called Michel, or The Teacher. Over time, the group's dark side began to surface as total devotion turned to paranoia, until finally, unexpected truths about their enlightened leader were revealed -- all in front of Allen's camera. This incredible, 22-year archive of video footage became the basis for HOLY HELL. Now, for the first time since he left the group, Allen turns the camera on himself and asks fellow ex-cult members to come to terms with their past and the unbelievable deceit they experienced.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 33
  • Fresh: 24
  • Rotten: 9
  • Average Rating: 6.1/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Mr. Allen has made an engrossing and tense documentary, though his insider knowledge is sometimes a hindrance. – Ken Jaworowski, New York Times, May 26, 2016

Fresh: Like watching a takedown of Hitler by a disillusioned Leni Reifenstahl, what emerges is one of the decade's strangest and most unsettling documentaries, especially given its as-yet-unwritten ending. – Peter Debruge, Variety, May 27, 2016

Fresh: It's ham-fistedly structured to withhold information for maximum dramatic impact. But that impact, as predictable as it is, hits hard. – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2016

Rotten: "Holy Hell" should have dug a lot deeper and told its story with a lot more finesse. What happened? Maybe, after all these years, Allen was still too close to his subject? – Matt Zoller Seitz,, May 28, 2016

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Powerful and emotional

A very captivating and emotional journey from beginning to end. This film shows the psychological power and manipulation that one man can have over a mass number of people, similar to the way Hitler brainwashed an entire nation.

stunning portrait of a man, an era

So lovingly done, yet scathingly reported. This documentary walks a fine line of respecting its participants (many who were part of the group for decades) and decimating their leader as more and more of his seeming integrity broke down.


This just proves that people are completly out of their minds.... a cast of of idiots ....a film made by an idiot

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