While neither film is destined for all-time classic status as a long time advocate of the genre I am forced to watch soooo many terrible films to find even moderately good ones that seeing two entertaining movies back to back is a pleasant rarity.
It also had me feeling good about the proposition of watching The Hills Run Red, as I only watched it after reading some very positive DVD reviews giving it a boost.
The opening scene only ramped up my anticipation too, it set a tone that at least told me this wasn’t going to be a PG 13 snoozefest, and set a solid standard that I hoped the remainder of the film might aspire to.
The bad news – That didn’t happen.
The good news – The movie wasn’t awful at least, but just barely.
Well now that I’ve said it already the credits are interspersed with “cuts” of a young kid calmly taking the scissors to his own face in fairly graphic and gory detail. As yet we have no idea why but it serves as an effective opening scene which at least tells us this isn’t going to be Prom Night 2: Prom Queen’s Revenge.
The plot that brings Victims A through D into the sphere of Killer A involves some young aspiring filmmakers and their efforts to track down an infamous but reclusive director who made a particularly gory and subsequently banned horror film in the 80s.
The film was conveniently call The Hills Run Red, and all that exists is a crappy trailer, we are told this by words on the screen, as explaining events and actions through plot takes valuable time.
The killer in the film was named Babyface, who cut off his own face and sewed a dead eyed expressionless doll’s face over the top of what remained.
Watching the trailer through the eyes of one of the filmmaker gave no cause for alarm, and definitely no reason as to why the thing was banned, but here we once again obey the convention of if the film says it was too gory, then it was too gory. (This is usually utilised with master criminals, who do nothing that suggests intelligence or genius but we believe they are because we are told so.)
So the main young filmmaking dude Travis tracks down the daughter of the director, who in a fortunate twist of cinematic convenience is a young blonde hottie who strips for a living. Of course he goes to meet her at “work”, so that they might talk shop over a lapdance.
No complaints here.
Turns out that the stripper Alexa takes Tyler home and offers herself up to him, Tyler refuses as he recognises that Alexa is a full blown junkie, so rather than hopping aboard he does the right thing and puts her through a 30 second detox montage to sober her up, so that she may be of some use later in the film.
Meanwhile his flatmate Gabe humps the crap out of Tyler’s girlfriend Serina in a variety of positions in Tyler’s flat. (Shoulda taken the offer man!) For some reason this is never touched on for the rest of the film. His best mate plowed his girlfriend! They didn’t use that info to justify a difficult decision or a uncomfortable reveal later in the film?
So after the magical detox capabilities offered by a montage Alexa joins the three others to embark upon a junket to visit all the main sites used in filming the original film, hoping to uncover something that helps lead them to the director I guess.
They interview locals who somehow haven’t moved in 27 years, some of them looking like they are in their mid 30s, which means they were under 10 when the movie was made and shouldn’t have been around anyway.
This brief sequence takes them near the deserted homestead where the main sequences were filmed, I say near as they seemed to walk for a long while to find the house, in the dark of course.
As they camp for the night it is obvious that they are being watched…and this is where the alleged fun starts.
They are beset by a group of rednecks that they interviewed earlier and who are keen to do a little film-making of their own with Alexa as the unwilling star, only they are rudely interrupted by all being killed… by Babyface.
Oh come on, that isn’t a spoiler. We all knew he was coming.
Then we have 20 more minutes of gore, blood, some more inexplicable nudity (again no complaints) and a few twists that might be shocking if you’ve never seen a movie before.
The surprising part of all this is that Sophie Monk (Alexa), who was a teen pop star I Australia in one of those manufactured for a TV show groups can sorta act, and she isn’t averse to taking her gear off a few times too if you disagree.
She does need to lay off the Botox though, her lips are so big that she had to start saying her line as the other actor gave her the lead in line, as it took a few seconds to arrive past the jaggeresque flappers. The other surgery that she has obviously had is hard to fault though.
Both of them.
After the great first couple minutes it was a little disappointing that the film allowed itself to end up nothing more than a running-around-chased-by-a-freak-with-a-knife screamfest.
Another not really interesting fact is that the film was made in Czechoslovakia. Or Bulgaria. Or one of the other ‘garias, Hungaria? I only point this out as when the credits rolled for some reason I left the DVD running, I think I assumed there might be the sequel set up after the credits (can’t remember – not important). As the crew names rolled I thought to myself that I have never seen so many surnames ending with V, (Kabakov, Jankov etc.)
Final Rating – 5.5 / 10. After the opening face-peeling scene the only reason to hang around is my fascinating fact involving film crew members whose name ends with “v”. If that convinces you to bother with the rest I am sorry.
(OK, you can google/images Sophie Monk.)