THE HILLS RUN RED (2009)
By Chris Ward
‘The Hills Run Red’ is a strange one. On the one hand you have an above average slasher, that nicely pays homage to the late seventies/early eighties exploitation movies it so obviously wants to emulate, and at the same time adds a few neat twists and modern touches to keep it up there with the current crop. On the other, one could say this movie has ideas above it’s station and is trying to be too clever in it’s self-knowing ‘Scream’-isms.
Tad Hildenbrinck stars as Tyler, a young filmmaker obsessed by an obscure early eighties slasher movie called The Hills Run Red, that contains a masked killer called Babyface. Apparently the movie was deemed too gruesome and was never released, and the only evidence it exists is a trailer doing the rounds, so Tyler decides to go looking for the movie’s director (William Sadler), who’s daughter Alexa (Sophie Monk) he tracks down working in a strip club.
After a bizarre sequence where Tyler makes Alexa go cold turkey from her drug habit, she agrees to go with Tyler, and his friends Serena (Janet Montgomery) and Lalo (Alex Wyndham) to the woods where the movie was shot. When they get there, though, they get more than they bargained for when the group come face to face with the local redneck gang and Babyface himself. It soon seems the original movie was never finished, and Tyler and friends must find a way out before they become the latest victims of the crazed director and his creation.
As an overall comment, this is an entertaining movie and most genre fans will no doubt enjoy it. The overall premise is good, Babyface makes for a pretty intimidating villain – somewhere between Leatherface and Jason circa ‘Friday the 13th Part 3’ – and William Sadler is marvellous as the lunatic film director obsessed with making his masterpiece. There are, however, a few faults here. Too much genre referencing – the bulk of this movie’s audience will already be familiar with its obvious influences, so we don’t need constant nods to the classics. Tad Hildenbrinck is fairly flat as the lead character, as is Janet Montgomery as his on/off love interest, although Sophie Monk and Alex Wyndham offer solid support. The gore is suitably nasty – with one particularly cool kill involving two trees and some long rope – and there is a genuine air of menace throughout. It won’t blow your mind, but it does kill (ahem!) 80 minutes.