Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hills Run Red (2009, Dave Parker)

Hills Run Red is one of those movies that as soon as you read a brief synopsis, something clicks and you know you have to see it. This film, with its "mysterious lost horror film" storyline seemed like a sure-fire winner. Or is it a case of a good idea that ended up being a 90 minute air biscuit?

Hills Run Red follows Tyler (Tad Hilgenbrinck), an aspiring young film maker who is obsessed with a lost horror film from the early 80's called Hills Run Red. All that exists from the film is a trailer, which holds many clues that lead Tyler on a hunt to find out what happened to the film. It was banned after a few screenings and the director was never heard from again. Tyler finds the director's daughter (Sophie Monk) and with her help they seek out the original locations where the film was shot. Tagging along are Tyler's girlfriend (Janet Montgomery) and friend Lalo (Alex Wyndham). In their search, they encounter real horror when the secret of the film slowly unravels.

Hills Run Red has such a great storyline that I was really disappointed by the end result. The film generously borrows ideas from other recent horror films (Hostel, Saw and several others) and just doesn't live up to its full potential. The main character Tyler is about as deep as a rain drop, which really damages the film. I loved Tad Hilgenbrinck as Stiffler's brother in the huge guilty pleasure American Pie: Band Camp, but here he just doesn't fit well as the obsessed horror fan. I'll give props to the always awesome William Sadler for his role as the missing director Concannon and to the campy performance of the super hot Sophie Monk as Concannon's daughter. The overuse of CGI is also a big flaw in the film as are some of the silly attempts at drama (especially when Tyler forces Concannon's junkie/stripper daughter to get clean). The killer in the film is interesting at least and has a good back story (which I won't spoil) but it still wasn't enough to save the film. Overall, the film wasn't terrible and though it had some good things going for it, it was still disappointing. But it was watchable and I'm in a generous mood so I'll give it a 3/5 though it probably deserves a 2/5. Here's where those half ratings would come in handy.


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