DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
4K UHD
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Hills Run Red
The Hills Run Red
Warner Bros. // R // September 29, 2009
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted October 12, 2009 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Hills Run Red:
Here's another in a long and storied line of low budget horror movies, employing a number of overly familiar tropes to deliver grue and boos. But the thing is director Dave Parker (The Dead Hate the Living!) wraps those things we've come to know and expect in enough clever, intelligent layers to make The Hills Run Red a nice little surprise. Thankfully starting with a not-overused premise, Hills introduces plausible characters about whom we can actually care, before putting them through the grinder. Hills has some difficulty living up to its gory premise, yet it's a sturdy enough, blood-smeared thriller to keep most horror hounds satisfied.

Hills sprinkles genre catnip - the "lost horror movie too disturbing to ever be seen again" - on the cinema floor for us to sniff and chomp. A movie from 1982 titled "The Hills Run Red" actually, was shown once and promptly destroyed. Reclusive auteur Wilson Wyler Concannon apparently breached too many taboos for '82, including using his daughter in the film, and filling it with the most horrendous gore possible. All that remains is a fantastic trailer on the Web, luring film fanatic Tyler (Tad Hilgenbrink) and his posse on a wild noose chase. Tyler's enthusiasm is plausible, and entanglements between him, his friend Gabe (Mike Straub) and his girlfriend Serina (Janet Montgomery) flesh out the characters nicely, even if that flesh may be soon stripped from their bones by Babyface, the mysterious killer haunting the backwoods where the original movie was filmed. Oh yes, along for the ride is Concannon's daughter Alexa, (Sophie Monk) now all growed up, hooked on drugs and stripping for a living.

It's the horror movie fan's dilemma; a movie packed with gory murders and topless women, but also saddled with plenty of clich├ęs, such as teens going into the backwoods where they eventually encounter vengeful rednecks, a murderer, and death. But like I said, we can at least be happy that Hills ladles on the Ragu while baring plenty of breasts, not to mention supplying us with characters a notch or two above the usual cutouts. Trouble is, like many lost artifacts and holy grails, truth never quite measures up to fantasy. Inasmuch as Tyler might have been slightly disappointed when finally watching "Hills," we discover Hills doesn't seem to have as much oomph as its pretend counterpart. Where the movie-within "Hills" looks transgressive and slaughtery in the extreme-extreme, Hills itself lands somewhat short of the savagery stratosphere. Yes, there is some good gore to be had, plus the suitably creepy Babyface, (gosh, I'm tired of catchy slasher names, 'Babyface' makes 'Michael Meyers' seem positively Runyonesque) but this movie on balance has little to none of the uneasy air of forbidden wrongness ascribed to its fictional counterpart. Or maybe I'm just jaded.

Hills has a twist ending, something else that's nearing over-saturation in the horror world, but the twist seems always at the edge of obviousness, so while there may be an element of mystery involved, there's not much in the way of suspense. Babyface and friends treat you to some nice bits of bloodletting, other exploitative elements you gents may enjoy, and characters that won't insult your intelligence. But the delicious conceit of the 'un-watchable horror film' (spider pit scene from King Kong anyone?) sets a by nature unattainable goal for what is an otherwise decent and above average slice-and-dice affair.

The DVD

Video:
Arriving in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation, Hills sports a perfectly adequate look for a low-budget film on DVD. A little bit of grain and some motion blur crops up, and details are a tiny bit south of sharp, but other compression problems aren't an issue. Colors are fairly robust, especially all that blood, and black levels are fairly deep.

Sound:
Also in the OK but not super category is Dolby Digital 5.1 English Audio. Nicely, screams and music don't completely overwhelm other audio aspects, so volume control monitoring isn't necessary. Occasional dynamic sound design adds some interest.

Extras:
English SDH is available, as well as a Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Audio Track, and a grip of Subtitles including English, French, Spanish, Japanese and Portuguese. (I guess we know which countries like the gore, huh?) A Commentary Track with director Dave Parker, teleplay author David J. Schow and producer Robert Meyer Burnett provides some hollow-sounding audio and some awkward silences among tidbits of mild interest and occasionally snarky attitude. A 28-minute featurette, It's Not Real Until You Shoot It: The Making of The Hills Run Red rounds things out with plenty of entertaining on-set interviews, funny candid moments, behind-the-scenes footage and more.

Final Thoughts:
Even though Hills isn't able to match its own challenge - that of a horror movie to horrific for theaters - it certainly racks up of plenty of blood, breasts, and one creepy beast. Decent performances and believable characters liven up some familiar tropes (kids go into the woods for a project and meet death, to be precise) for a reasonably respectable romp in the horror trenches. For your garden-variety fan, this earns a solid Rent It.

- Kurt Dahlke

~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com

Other Reviews:
Popular Reviews
1. The Deuce: The Complete First Season
2. Dario Argento's Opera
3. The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection - Vol. 1
4. Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno
5. Tom Jones
6. Drag Me to Hell - Collector's Edition
7. Intermezzo: A Love Story
8. Spencer's Mountain
9. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
10. Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2018 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use