Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Hills Run Red (2009)

Fear 1/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 1/5
Creepiness 1/5

Anyone who's a regular follower of this blog knows of my unabashed love of slasher films. The more alcohol, drug, and sex induced awesomeness, the better. Throw in some insanely (un)intentionally funny dialogue, a main antagonist, and a final girl for good measure, and usually, you had me at hello. Of course, there has to be some sort of a thinly veiled plot to kind of hold everything together but usually, its those staples which keep me coming back for more. Like zombie films, it seems like the well is running dry on this sub-genre and filmmakers are circling around for another beat down of a dead horse. Enter The Hills Run Red with its sincere effort to make a 'smart' slasher pic.

The story kicks off with a horror film fanatic as he attempts to track down the whereabouts of a copy of an infamous film. Apparently the director premiered his film years back and it was promptly shut down during the screening as it was thought to be too disturbing for mass consumption. The director then went into seclusion and as it stands, no known copy of the film exists.

Our persistently pugnacious fanatic, tracks down one of the stars of the film, a woman (who at the time was a wee little lass) that works at the local boobie bar. As he sits through her lap grinding performance, he asks her about it. We find out that the director was in fact her dear ol' dad and she hasn't seen him in years.

He follows her home and convinces her to follow him on a trek out to the woodland area where the film was originally shot instead of going to her day job which in turn pays for her nasty heroin addiction. They both set out along with his girlfriend and best friend (who both bumped nasty bits in the scene before, what classy ladies!), embarking on a mission to find the lost film and maybe, run into daddy in the process.

What the film attempts to do at this point is basically eschew all of the trappings that are a hallmark of typical horror fare: they know that cellphones actually work where they are headed, they pack a gun and deem themselves fit to take on whatever comes their way, and they remark that the woods are usually a perfect setting for horror film shenanigans, but for them, it won't be (insert everyone laughing their asses off after this astute observation). Their conscious acknowledgement of these things and coming 'prepared' for the situation is supposed to negate the fact that 1. They are being lead into the forest by a trackmark riddled stripper 2. Daddy has been in hiding for years and his only obssession in life has never truly seen the light of day and 3. The main 'star' of the film was a mysterious babyfaced masked man whose whereabouts are also unknown. Sign me up for that trip!

When they arrive, they quickly get settled in after laying claim to a space fit for camping. Its not long before the gang is stalked by the cherub faced killer. In the process of evading their attacker, they happen to run into daddy-o. Apparently his vision was never fully realized for the film and the kids are now a part of the current in-process, re-shoot of the film's ending. And guess who led the kids squarely into the thick of it? Dun dun dun. That's right, your neighborhood funded and always saintly, heroin addicted stripper!

I can appreciate what the writer and director were trying to do. But in its attempt to be a 'smart' slasher film, it turned out to be completely nonsensical. Why set things up the way it did just to execute on the likeliest of in-story, sub-villains? With not a single red herring in sight, the film was pretty much transparent from the word go. Ultimately, the film bored me to tears and did nothing to make me change my belief that the slasher sub-genre should have died in the 80's.

Cortez the Killer

HorrorBlips: vote it up!


Matt-suzaka said...

What are the chances that I just wrote a review for this the other day?! Though I probably won’t post it for another week or two, I liked it better than you did, but I took it as a Slasher that came up big in the blood, boobs, and cool killer department, but noting else really. So I can vouch for your spot on thoughts in a way, whether or not I liked it. Honestly, I didn’t expect much more from it, so I was easily swayed towards the positive side with The Hills Run Red. Not great, but I thought it was fun.

Cortez The Killer said...

It certainly had the main ingredients of a slasher film (and a cool looking killer to boot). I had pretty high expectaions given the unanimous praise it was receiving at various film fests. It just tried too hard to be too many things. For me, with slasher films, just keep it simple stupid.

Upstart said...

I felt that the main problem with this film is that it had too much money thrown at it. It wanted to be an 80s video nasty, by getting Warner involved in it, I think it actually suffered.
A good film was in there somewhere, it was just buried by gloss.