This movie doesn't need zombies: 'The Hills Run Red'

The Hills Run Red hits DVD September 29, 2009, and I think fans of modern and classic slasher films would be wise to check it out. David J. Schow (who's been a horror screenwriter since the late 80s having been involved with A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child and Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, so he's no stranger to slasher films) is one of the writers, and he brings his familiar horror movie sensibility to the movie in a way that's one part nostalgic, one part familiar and yet still one part fresh. (Schow is joined by writer John Dombrow who both co-wrote the screenplay from a story by producer John Carchietta.)

Tad Hilgenbrink plays Tyler, a young filmmaker who's become obsessed with an 80s horror film that never quite made it to the theaters. The Hills Run Red is the name of the horror film within this horror film (and there's a quick bit of bright dialogue acknowledging that, yes, this is also the name of a Western from the 1960s). Tyler ropes his best friend and girlfriend, Lalo and Serina played by Alex Wyndham and Janet Montgomery respectively, into joining him on his quest, and eventually, they find Alexa, who acted in The Hills Run Red when she was a little girl; now she's grown up and is working at a strip club. Sophie Monk plays Alexa, and she's one to watch in the film. In fact, these four leads all sold their roles believably, and I enjoyed watching the four of them delve deeper into the mystery of this mysterious horror film.

Their search brings them back to the film's original shooting locations, and along the way, we go through a few twists and turns before the final plot point spools onto the screen. There are some surprises I'd like to keep from spoiling; I found most of them to be quite effective.

Babyface is the slasher/subject of The Hills Have Red, both the film within the film and the film itself. He seems to be cut from the Jason Voorhees cloth - he's a hulking figure, stomping through the woods and wearing part of a babydoll's face as a mask. The character's back story is revealed in the opening credits through a creepy and grimy sequence that left me surprised.

Surprise is perhaps the theme of my review of The Hills Run Red. This is a straight-to-DVD offering, and it's a modern day slasher, so if I'm being completely honest, my hopes weren't very high. However, I found myself really enjoying this movie, and I know it's something I'll be going back to for repeat viewings. Director Dave Parker has crafted a movie that's well-conceived, well-paced, and as far as I'm concerned, should be well-received.


Post a Comment