Creating an original movie villain is not an easy task; even more difficult is to come up with one for a Slasher film. You can ignore many issues in a Slasher film if it can deliver a solid killer and the Slasher essentials, boobs, gore, awesome kills, boobs, etc… Very often, things like story, plot, and character development can hit the floor for these essentials. The Hills Run Red (Directed by Dave Parker and co-written by David J. Schow of Fango fame) somewhat falls into this cataGORY as it doesn’t bring anything new to the tea party, but delivers on most of these Slasher goods quite efficiently.
The film follows, Tyler (Tad Hilgenbrink), a genre fan that has been obsessed with finding the notorious horror film, aptly titled, The Hills Run Red. The Hills Run Red is known by many (and seen by very few) as a film that is one of the most fucked up and realistic horror movies ever constructed. In hopes of actually finding the missing film for his own viewing pleasure, Taylor decides he is going to make a documentary about the movie itself and its director (played by William Sadler) who went into seclusion after the film was banished for going too far. Tyler somehow tracks down a girl that worked on the film, the directors daughter, Alexa (Sophie Monk) who played a character in the movie when she was just a little girl.
Tyler “talks” Alexa into helping him find the location where The Hills Run Red was shot (and hopefully the movie itself), which is very deep in the woods, of course. They don’t go it alone as Tyler’s girlfriend, Serina (Janet Montgomery) and his best buddy, Lalo (Alex Wyndham) tag along as part of the film crew while doubling as his moral support. The young band of suckers find that there is more than just fiction when it comes to the movies killer, Babyface, when they learn that the ravenous murderer exists beyond the celluloid safety of the movie they were in search of. That my friends, is where all the fun begins. Well, not fun for the characters, but fun for the viewer…and probably Babyface too. You get what I mean.
The Hills Run Red, the one that I am reviewing, not the one in the film, is a solid Slasher film, but as I said in the opening, it does fall into the less than perfect spot as far as average top-tier genre cinema goes. I mean, you’re not going to compare this film to Martyrs, or Let the Right One In, to be fair. It’s not bad though – I had meek expectations for the movie as I heard very mixed things about it, so I wasn’t going in this one looking for problems with the film, which I rarely do anyways. It’s nothing original, but it does try to give the viewer a few twists and turns to spice things up a little, which made things fun, even though they really do not work outside of being silly. The characters are okay, as well as the acting and while nothing really stood out except for the more gruesome scenes, the film was made well enough. There is liberal use of (every one’s favorite!) Book of Shadows type handheld camera work for the sake of Tyler’s documentary, but key word being liberal as it thankfully isn’t overused.
Being that the main character Tyler is a huge horror fan, there is some self-referential horror stuff in The Hills Run Red. At one time, that shit was fun, but now it is often very annoying and distracting when a film just tries to reference movies and directors just to reference them – thankfully, it isn’t completely overbearing in The Hills Run Red…it seems like the filmmakers knew how much was enough, but it is still present. One issue I had, was when Tyler finds Alexa, she is a heroin addicted stripper (aren’t we all?). Tyler “helps” Alexa kick her heroin habit by locking her up in her own apartment and taking care of her until she is over her addiction. While a few days clearly pass, I cannot believe she would just be fine after heroin detox via Stiffler’s little brother. Dr. Drew, he is not.
I brought up the Slasher essentials earlier and The Hills Run Red delivers on them in an almost aware fashion. There are a ton of “tune in Tokyo” knobs in this film…I mean, for a moment, I thought the “hills” that were referred to in the title were the boobies in the film! Not complaining. There are also some well-done (for the CGI age) gore scenes and bloody bits tossed about throughout the film. For most of the first half, it is done so with flashbacks to scenes from The Hills Run Red movie within a movie. I thought they were pretty well done as they are presented in a grainier exploitation film type of style, which was very gritty and cool looking.
The dead-bread and-bloody butter of The Hills Run Red is definitely Babyface (Danko Iordanov). From his jacked up, almost mutated Babyface mask, to his dirty blood red hoodie, Babyface is very imposing and brutal without being completely over the top. He doesn’t stalk slowly like many Slasher villains; he comes after your ass and turns it firmly into grass. He is scary enough to make the hills in your pants run brown! Babyface is a franchise Slasher villain and he is what makes The Hills Run Red stand out over the average direct to video crud that stinks up the marketplace.
The Hills Run Red delivers what you’re looking for, if you are looking for a fun Slasher film filled with knockers, great kills, and a badass killer. Keep them expectations in line and you are sure to have a good time…I’m a poet and I actually DO know it.