Slasher Summer Camp 2011: ‘The Hills Run Red’

By Anthony Crabtree

Seniors are graduating, schools are getting out, and that means that Corn Rigs and Barley Rigs is gearing up for its own version of summer camp. I never actually went to summer camp, nor did I ever want to, but I feel like I experienced these
glorious times through the “Friday the 13th” films. Isn’t that really enough? Archery, rowing, swimming, hatchetry, playing Monopoly on stormy nights — it was all there!

This year, to celebrate this summer season, Corn Rigs and Barley Rigs will take a look at slasher films with Slasher Summer Camp! We will review titles from the slasher subgenre for 12 weeks straight.

We’re going to start with a film from 2009 called “The Hills Run Red.”

“The Hills Run Red,” written by John Dombrow and David J. Schow, based on a story by John Carchietta, directed by Dave Parker, 81 minutes, rated R.

I had never seen “The Hills Run Red” before, but had heard decent things from people on message boards and had always been curious about it. When I found it in a cardboard box at Blockbuster for 99 cents on Friday, I figured that this was a win-win situation. If it was terrible I was only out 99 cents, but it could also be the best 99 cents I’ve ever spent. Sadly, this film falls in the former category.

I can see how someone could like this film. It’s about a film student (or so I assume) named Tyler, played by Tad Hilgenbrink, who is on the quest to see a lost horror film called “The Hills Run Red.” The faux film was created by a filmmaker named Concannon, played by William Sadler. While I know Concannon is a real name, it seems weird for a character who is a backwoods horror filmmaker.

Tyler, his girlfriend and best friend, along with Concannon’s daughter, trek into the middle of the woods to find the film. The plot is not as straightforward as it might seem, but to say more would be to spoil some of the major surprises, and at 81 minutes there are a lot of twists and turns. These surprises are often not shocking and add little to the film.

The main thing that “The Hills Run Red” has going for it is the character Babyface, played by Danko Jordanov. He is our slasher villain here, and he is actually something different and refreshing for the genre. While he is not Jason,
Freddy, Michael Myers or Leatherface, he is an effective villain. The rattler that victims hear before their Babyface related deaths is surprisingly innovative, and almost better than that noise that Jason makes in his hockey mask while stalking
his prey. Director Dave Parker creates incredibly violent murders with Babyface, some of which are quite intense for an R-rated film and go beyond what we have seen in other recent slashers.

While I liked Babyface and thought that director Dave Parker gave it the old college try, it simply was not enough. The characters are flat, save for Concannon’s daughter played by Sophie Monk, and I had little interest in their fates. The worst part is that Babyface and the murders don’t begin until about 45 minutes into the film. This means that you have to deal with these characters interacting for a long time until some excitement begins. The writers try to make the dialogue “real” for film fans by adding in references to cinema and moments that focus on developing relationships, but in the end it comes off forced.

“The Hills Run Red,” has a solid premise and a great new slasher villain. There are some violent deaths that many will find entertaining, but the deaths don’t really matter when you don’t care about any of the characters. In this case, I
didn’t.

Grade: C

Power Link of the Week:

The blog of a fantastic horror writer named Lianne Spiderbaby. She writes for Fangoria and is working on her book “Grindhouse Girls.” Visit her site and enjoy it!

www.liannespiderbaby.com/

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