starring: Phoebe Dollar, Kiren David, Hank Horner
A hot desert. A woman in skimpy shorts. A Mexican man in a car hiding a knife. These are the very fist things we will see in this rather effective low-budget shlock and by the time the man pulls over and picks up the hitchhiking hottie, you may think you know where this is going.
After seemingly poisoning his victim with tainted water, the knife wielding psycho starts to chase her out of the car and stab her to death. Burying the body later, the man reveals himself to be a pastor and the liquid he gave to the girl was holy water; so what does this mean? It means this gal ain't normal and she suddenly reappears behind padre to bash his head open with the same shovel he used to bury her.
Ten minutes into the movie and I'm already intrigued.
After that theatrics, we now follow four friends on a road trip to California for some soak'n sunshine, spotting the same femme fatale hitching for a ride, introducing herself as Lucienda. In a three-out-of-one argument, the traveling couples decided to let her ride with them but after a horrible joke involving her claims that she had murdered one of the group's brother and sexually threatened them with a gun, they managed to kick the psycho out and drive away. After camping out that night, the group continues on their trip the next day and finds Lucienda waiting for them at knife point but managed to kill her easily by running her over by accident. Just as they thought they rid themselves of the killer, the same gal begins stalking them over and over again. Could Lucienda really be the devil she's claims to be, or is there something else in action?
On the outer core, Hell's Highway is a zero-budget wannabe horror that lacks the scares and creep factor; it's amateurish in every way possible, having the basic problems that every cheap home-made slashers have like some muffled audio, off acting, weird special effects (check out that phone-to-satellite-to-phone montage. It's hilarious!) and cheap settings, so much that you can't actually believe that it's actually out there being sold and circulated. But, and this is a very big but, these are also the reasons why I love it.
|And they say you can't launch cardboard satellites to space!|
For a micro-budget film, I'm very impressed with this one; Hell's Highway might as well be one of the cheapest movies I've ever lay eyes on but it still found a way to be fun. The story's campy and filled with very likable characters, discarding much of the serious approach by hamming us with cheesy lines, no-drag fast pacing and a surreal, nightmarish climax. What it lacked greatly in logic was replaced by a sense of entertainment that only the open minded can enjoy, or at least those who can love a decent splatstick horror.
Slasher film-wise, gore's very nasty on that department, varying from good cartoonish ones to those that just look very weird (I don't think shotgun woulds are supposed to look like melted pancakes over someone's face, nor can anyone survive getting shot on the eye). Plus, the movie also sports a cool villainess, who may or may not be inclined to the supernatural, coming across badassery between The Hitcher's John Ryder and something like Baby Firefly from House of 1000 Corpses with her sleazy advances and an utterly no-mercy approach to her victims. What sets her different from the two aforementioned slashers, however, is a bit of a spoiler that happened somewhere in the climax and ongoing to the finale. It's a little confusing, but the ambiguity of her true nature makes her a worthy villainess and the movie unique at some point.
For those who loves zero-budget midnight flicks, this one's a definite keeper. I would go as far as saying this might be a fair competition to my two fave Road Slasher flicks (which are The Hitcher (1986) and the Australian Hitchcockian "slasher" Road Games (1981)) if only it had a bigger budget, but it's almost there and I'm glad I tried this one!
1 female repeatedly stabbed on the gut with hunting knife
1 male had his head bashed open with shovel
1 male castrated with hunting knife, immolated in car crash
1 female ran over by car
1 male shot on the head
1 female shot on the neck
1 female shot on the back
1 female shot on the head
1 male gutted with chainsaw
1 female ran through with chainsaw
1 female repeatedly shot on the gut
1 male shot on the eye, beaten with gun
1 male shot on the head with shotgun
1 male shot with shotgun
5 females and 2 males decimated in explosion
|Almost forgot to mention, Ron Jeremy's in this for some reason...|