The world of the low budget horror film can be such a blessing or an abomination. It is almost obvious when a film has a low budget and that holds very true for the horror genre. You see it’s the scare flicks that need lots of special effects or CGI to get their true motives accomplished and let’s face it, that can’t always be done very easily without a lot of money. Some directors and prop designers somehow figure out a way to get things going and know how to do so much with the little they have (see: Wrong Turn 2: Dead End). Others don’t know how to do anything at all and fail miserably on every level (see: BTK or Grim Reaper). When you step into the world of the “horror movie,” you better have some money or know exactly what you’re doing.
In 1982, horror director Wilson Wyler Concannon crossed the line a little too far and created a film entitled The Hills Run Red. The film apparently was too sadistic for theatres and was pulled shortly after its release. Not a single cast member was ever heard from again and all that has ever been found from the film was a few stills and what looks to be a fan-made trailer. Budding filmmaker Tyler decides he wants to find the film and learn the secret of why exactly it disappeared off the face of the earth. Along with his girlfriend Serina and his best friend Lalo, they find Wyler’s daughter Alexa who was in film as a child and can possibly help them learn the real story behind the horror. It’s time to go on a wild goose chase and find out the secrets of the film and its backwoods’ killer Babyface.
Good Lord, the film wasn’t even on twenty minutes and I wanted to turn it off and pitch the disc out the window like a Frisbee. Everything about The Hills Run Red is overly predictable and incredibly horror clichéd. After the first ten minutes had gone by, our four main characters had done more then enough to make you hope they all died horrific and torturous deaths. Before you even get a chance to care so much as a damn about them, Tyler gets screwed over by his girlfriend and best friend who sleep together. What a bunch of assholes. But it was necessary because you can’t kill off characters in a horror flick unless they have sex right? Ugh, this was annoying.
The actors are boring and have no charisma whatsoever making you long for the next scene and hope someone else comes into the picture, but no luck. The Hills has a script that makes you wonder how long the writers sat there and watched old horror films before piecing it together. That goes hand-in hand with this great list of horror film staples that give the genre a bad name:
~ Big hulking killer with a mask
~ Characters have sex
~ Going off into the middle of nowhere
~ Nudity everywhere
~ Killer casually shows up hiding in the distance from time to time spying
~ Somehow ending up EXACTLY where you need to be
Shall I continue because there are plenty more traits in this wannabe Blair Witch Project? No, I’m done. Oh wait, there is one more thing. About thirty-three minutes in when the gang is walking away into the woods, listen carefully to the music as the scene fades. A rather familiar and ominous “Chh-chh-chh Ahh-ahh-ahh” rings out. No, I’m not kidding you.
The film is shown in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and while things look alright for the most part, it is evident the low budget that was in effect here at others. Lots of grain and even some blurry moments, but they don’t really get in the way too much.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound which also has some problems but does an adequate enough job. Few issues now and then with the dialogue being way too low so that sucks, but it’s not often.
Audio Commentary – Director David Parker, producer Robert Meyer Burnett, and writer David J. Schow sit down together for a commentary track that I really could have done without. When these three aren’t congratulating themselves on their “job well done,” then they’re barely saying anything at all. Lots of long awkward silences.
It’s Not Real Until You Shoot It – A basic “making of” featurette showing some behind the scenes footage interlaced with interviews from cast and crew. The interviews are actually the best part of this feature because they provide some good little stories on events that happened while filming. (28:16)
Trailers – Freddy Vs. Jason on Blu-ray, The Cell 2, and Trick ‘R Treat
The Hills Run Red is a whole lot of nothing new and nothing old done right. There’s a decent amount of gore and a twist ending that you can see coming from a mile away that keeps it from being total crap, but it sure as hell isn’t worth checking out just for that. An Angelina Jolie wannabe chick (Sophie Monk) is quite honestly the only worthwhile talent in it so you might to grab a copy on rental just for her. No, forget I said that and just steer clear. The Hills is obviously one of the many cases of absolute garbage in the low-budget horror world.
Warner Home Video presents The Hills Run Red. Directed by: Dave Parker. Starring: Sophie Monk, Tad Hilgenbrinck, Janet Montgomery, Alex Wyndham, William Sadler. Written by: John Carchietta, David J. Schow, & John Dombrow. Running time: 81 minutes. Rating: R. Released on DVD: September 29, 2009. Available at Amazon.com