Monday, July 9, 2012

Hush little baby, don't say a word...: The Hills Run Red (2009)

The Hills Run Red (2009)
starring:  Sophie Monk, Tad Hilgenbrink and William Sadler

When Halloween started the slasher boom in the late 70s to the early 80s, it lasted for a good decade before it starts to wane down. It wadn't until Wes Craven's Scream brought it back to its feet in the late 90s and then it enjoyed another ten years or so before all sorts of hype came and filled horror celluloid, most notably Torture Porn and countless remakes that barely outdo their originals. Slashers of the most recent all have their shares of successes and failures, but overall stable.

So when little titles such as this come around promising to bring back the good name of slashers with a bang, it's inevitable for us to anticipate something new apart from what we've grown familiar with. Some did what they promised, some goes to trickier lengths to entertain us.

In this film, a notorious 1982 slasher film known as The Hills Run Red was pulled out from the theaters due to its graphic depiction of torture and murder being too much for the public. It's director, Wilson Wyler Concannon, soon disappeared and any known print of his movie vanished without a trace...

Tyler, a film student, is obsessed with the film and yearns to do a documentary about it after he found a lead connecting to the lost slasher: Concannon's adult daughter, Alexa, who just so happens to be working as a stripper at a Night Club not far from where he stays. 

Unfortunately, his research is affecting his relationship with his girlfriend Serina, who in turn finding more comfort with his best bud, Lalo. They are both concerned about their friend's growing obsession with the movie but plays along when Tyler discovers from Alexa that there might be a copy of the movie in her father's house in the woods. The group soon packed up for a road trip to find the house and document their travel. 
The awkward four.
Later that night, however, a trio of redneck locals began to terrorize the group and plans to steal their belongings only for all of them to find out that something else lurks in the forest that made these hicks the lesser evil; a masked killer who effortlessly slaughtered their attackers and then kidnaps Alexa. As the rest soon follows to save her, will they all come out alive or is there something else under work?

The Hills Run Red (not to be confused by the 60s western of the same name), actually had it made as a slasher: it has a cool-looking killer, bloody good kills with the right amount of gore (gleefully giving "Torture Porn" a spit in the eye), some sleazy T&A, and chase scenes that worked with luscious cinematography. 

Sadly, this was all before the plot twist came and by then, it slows down, letting us take a breather or two while they try and reason out why the villains are doing this. Wouldn't be bad, but with all those build-up leading us to believe The Hills is going to be a straight hack'n slash antic, the lame motive and the overambitious villain(s) threw us back to tiresome clichés and an overly ineffective finale.

Albeit these setbacks, The Hills Run Red is still a fun watch. With each repeated viewing, the impact of the reveal made it more bearable at the end's mean. The first half sure made it worth the watch and even if it did have a groan inducing downbeat ending that literally screams "sequel" (which I'm sure we won't be seeing), it makes up for it with a bloody good montage of spliced snuff kills by ole Babyface.

And speaking of whom, I do also like the fact that they gave birth to one cool looking slasher villain. (haha, Birth, Babyface...baby puns) Though it's a shame a killer of his design and character had to be in a film that fails to utilize his full advantage, with his aged doll mask (looking like the mask Jonah of Dark Ride (2006) wore), he was a good dose of the macabre that made this film slightly memorable. Heck, he even goes creepy on us when he suddenly talk back to one of our leads with a voice so soft and calm, it's unnerving. You can actually enjoy the whole movie for the Babyface killer alone!

The Hills Run Red may have failed to be the grand comeback for the slasher film boom but it is one of the better DTV releases with tits, teeth, and a whole lot of grit. If you like a decent title to rent for a one night run, this is a perfect choice. Who knows, you might like it afterwards and if you do, you'll never listen to Hush Little Baby the same way again...

1 male axed on the gut (snuff)
1 male macheted on the face (snuff)
1 male bashed with a sledgehammer (flashback)
1 female ripped apart on hooks attached to tree branches
1 male seen being dragged dead
1 male pickaxe thrown to his back
1 male pickaxe to the head
1 male had his neck slashed with machete
1 male butchered (flashback)
1 male body found
1 male hacked to death with axe
1 male knifed on the chest
1 male stabbed to death with hunting knife
1 male had a pike ran through his heart
1 male had his neck broken (snuff)
1 female hacked to death with axe (snuff)
1 male asphyxiated with plastic bag (snuff)
1 male had his throat cut (snuff)
1 female had her fingers chopped off, killed (snuff)
1 female killed with chainsaw (snuff)
1 female gutted with machete (snuff)
1 female seen dead (snuff)
total: 22


  1. a personal favorite of mine. I totally love this movie and consider it one of the coolest and most original slashers of the last 20 years or so. Hope there'll be a sequel soon.

    1. I kinda doubt it, though. Unless they want to make Babyface a killer kid, which is totally a cool idea!