If you’re willing to ignore the obligatory self-aware jabs at slasher films in the first half hour that derails the story for a good portion of the prologue, “The Hills Run Red” is actually quite an entertaining slasher film, and one that dabbles in that classic formula of teens wanting to uncover a legend and meeting pure evil and chaos face to face. If you keep knocking on the devil’s door, eventually he’s going to answer, and two aspiring filmmakers learn that lesson when they team up to find the mythical grindhouse flick “The Hills Run Red” a controversial gory film in the vein of Ruggero Deodato’s classic that mysteriously went missing along with its director and co-stars.
Tyler and Lalo are on the hunt for the missing print and travel to the locations it was filmed to comprise a documentary on its content and run afoul locals who seek to ravage them for their possessions. The siege takes a turn for the worse when out of the darkness the film’s killer Babyface charges in the flesh wielding his axe and devising clever ways to trap his victims leading the hapless film students on a fight for their life, and the cursed film that may or may not be as fictional as historians presumed. While I initially had my doubts about this picture, “The Hills Run Red” pays adamant respect to the classic slashers of the seventies while also creating a new horror character Babyface, a maniacal and chaotic axe wielding beast who is relentless in his stalking of his victims and merciless in murdering them.
Very much ion the vein of Leatherface, Babyface is an absolute monster, one who charges head on and never misses a beat when approaching a potential obstacle while in pursuit of his mysterious prize. “The Hills Run Red” while also a fun slasher film is also an interesting mystery and a great take on the taboo snuff films of the bygone era of film where every element and character aren’t always who and what they seem to be as the writers slowly unravel secrets and twists that will assuredly keep audiences gasping and gritting their teeth. Director David Parker creates a brutally anarchic tone that keeps the film in a constant flourish of red and blacks while also running the story at a speedy pacing.
He invokes some interesting themes of film fanaticism and dying for ones art while providing a spotlight for William Sadler and the gorgeous Sophie Monk to act about as off the wall as they can. “The Hills Run Red” is definitely one of the best homages to the dark side of cinema I’ve ever seen and it works as both a slasher film, a genre de-construction, and a mystery while also setting the entrance for a new breed of madman, Babyface. This maniacal, gory, and smart slasher is exactly what we need more of in the sub-genre. While it does try its hand at being a “Scream” wannabe in some instances, that doesn’t affect what is a maddening, sick and entertaining slasher film with a great new slasher, some interesting horror villains, and a wicked premise that provides us with chills, thrills, and gory, gory kills.