A devoted horror fan becomes obsessed with finding the finished print of legendary lost slasher film The Hills Run Red. After tracking down the director's daughter, he ropes her, his girlfriend and his friend into documenting his search for the missing film. Their pursuit of the ultimate video nasty and the truth behind it leads them into classic slasher territory: the deep, dark, woods where the infamous film was shot and the deranged killer Babyface stalked his prey for the cameras.
The Hills Run Red, written by John Dombrow and David J. Schow, directed by Dave Park, promised to be a smart, cliché-busting modernisation of the slasher film. However, it doesn't reach the calibre of John Carpenter's episode of "Masters of Horror" Cigarette Burns which has a similar premise, nor does it deconstruct the slasher genre as cleverly as Scream or Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
From the long, dialogue-sodden outset, this is a film that suffers from trying too hard to please the fans. There's too much love for the past in it for it to bring the slasher genre up to date. It gently teases some of the old cliches while stumbling like a fleeing scream queen into others, and once the characters find themselves in the woods it becomes standard stalk and slash, with a soupçon of torture porn.
And yet there is much to enjoy in this movie, particularly William Sadler and Sophie Monk's impressive performances. Plenty of gore and genuinely creepy moments keep the tension nicely taut, while Frederik Wiedmann's lavish orchestral score adds subtle intensity. And although I doubt that Babyface will become a new iconic killer, he is effectively horrifying and his one line of the film, while funny, is truly chilling.
[Welcome Jodie Kearns to HorrorSquad. I hear tale she's an Irish Opera singer from across the pond who never kicks the horror genre out of her bed and that every time she Tweets, a Leprechaun is born. Be warned, though: every other time she Tweets, an Evil Leprechaun is born.]