Movie Review: The Hills Run Red

Maybe I went to the movie house expecting a bit too much having been swept up by the hype train, but beside a show-stealing performance by William Sadler, it’s hard for me to recommend “The Hills Run Red” as much more than a movie night rental with your buddies. Here’s my take on this move…

The Plot

The story revolves around Tyler, a film aficionado on the hunt to find a completed print of a missing and legendary 80’s slasher film, The Hills Run Red, said to be the goriest and most brutal little horror movie ever created. Enlisting the help of his best friend and girlfriend, Tyler embarks into the backwoods in search of the holy grail of gruesome, only to discover soon that things aren’t quite all that they seem. To say more would be potentially giving away what story there is and ruin a twist or two that “The Hills Run Red” works itself up within the first hour of run time.

A Slight Comparison

Many have compared THRR to a cross between Wrong Turn and Scream, but I’m more likely to argue it has more similarities with John Carpenter’s Masters of Horror Episode, Cigarette Burns, than the aforementioned Wes Craven franchise. Fans of the now defunct Showtime series will instantly recognize the not too obvious similarities in the story between Cigarette Burns and THRR, as well as the over the top gore scenes which stand out as big pluses in both films. THRR considerably never goes as far in its self-awareness and fan boy masturbation as Scream, and quite honestly, this film is much better off for it, in spite of being somewhat of a love letter to the horror genre.  Apart from that, there isn’t anything else done particularly well here.

On a positive note, the film’s highlight is William Sadler, who absolutely steals every scene he’s in, even if he’s not given enough to do as the “lost” films’ , maniacal and reclusive director. Sadler alone makes this film worth watching, though I’d be hard pressed to recommend “The Hills Run Red” as more than a rental to be enjoyed with a handful of friends and a couple of beers. This one comes with a lot of promise like recent slashers, Laid to Rest and Hatchet, but does very little to separate itself from the rest of the crop.

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