Tuesday, October 3, 2017

#2,433. Killbillies (2015)

Directed By: Tomaz Gorkic

Starring: Nina Ivanisin, Lotos Sparovec, Nika Rozman

Tag line: "The hills are alive, with the sound of... salughter!"

Trivia: Played in Romania at the 2015 Dracula Film Festival

There are certain preconceptions that cannot be avoided when you hear a title like Killbillies. I know, because I had them myself.

But take everything that popped into your head when you first read that title and throw it out the window.

For one, Killbillies is not a comedy. It is a deadly serious horror film.

Second, it is not set in Wrong Turn country, nor does it feature anyone who lives in the same neighborhood as the yokels from Deliverance. Killbillies is set in Slovenia.

That’s right… Slovenia. And if some sources on the internet are to be believed it is the very first feature-length horror film ever to emerge from that Central European Republic.

So, now that I’ve told you what this 2015 movie is not, let me tell you what it is:

Killbillies is a somewhat predictable horror film that was clearly inspired by such classics as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, yet thanks to its unique setting and a handful of truly brutal sequences there’s enough here to, at the very least, make it worth your while.

Though she’s decided to get out of the profession altogether, fashion model Zina (Nina Ivanisin) signs on for one last photo shoot, and with fellow model Mia (Nika Rozman), makeup artist Dragica (Manca Ogorevc), and moody photographer Blitzc (Sebastian Cavazza) she travels deep into the wilderness, where the picturesque mountains will serve as the perfect backdrop for their photos. 

But before Zina and the others can get any real work done, they’re approached by a pair of deformed locals, Francl (Lotos Sparovec) and Vintlr (Jurij Drevensek), who, after knocking Blitcz out, drag the four off to a remote location and lock them in a dank basement. Realizing these sadistic hillbillies have no intention of letting them go, Zina formulates an escape plan, all the while wondering why they were kidnapped in the first place.

The set-up is fairly basic, and while the Slovenian movie-going public may not have seen anything like Killbillies before, horror fans from most other countries know exactly what's going to happen the moment Francl and Vintlr enter the picture. Along with being a bit obvious, the movie features a chase sequence that is far too long (it fills the majority of the film's second half, and despite a few tense moments I found my attention waning as it seemingly dragged on forever).

Yet while Killbillies certainly had its problems, there were things about the movie that impressed me. First off, the setting was magnificent; the mountains that filled the background of most scenes were stunning, and to see such brutality play out in this idyllic location was a new experience for me. Also, the reason why Zina and her pals were abducted (which is revealed in one of the movie’s more grotesque scenes) was a definite surprise. I also liked the look of the hillbillies, whose mutated features reminded me of the baddies in the 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes

More than anything, though, Killbillies proved to be as blood-soaked as many of the films that inspired it, with gore sequences that, while not flawless (it was sometimes easy to spot the make-up), looked pretty darn good (one scene in particular, which featured a beheading, was handled perfectly by director Gorkic, who showed us just enough to make this kill effective).

A routine yet interesting bit of bloody mayhem with a very unfortunate title, Killbillies is a movie that most horror fans will likely enjoy, and the gorehounds will absolutely love.

1 comment:

James Robert Smith said...

I will never understand the appeal of these torture-porn films.