Friday, October 28, 2016

KILLBILLIES (2015) (DVD Review)

Label: Artsploitation Films
Region Code: 1
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 83 Minutes
Audio: Slovenian with Optional English Subtitles
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Tomaž Gorkič
Cast: Nina Ivanišin, Lotos Vincenc Šparovec, Jurij Drevenšek, Nika Rozman, Sebastian Cavazza, Manca Ogorevc, Damjana Černe, Damir Leventić, Matic Bobnar

Here we have bloody backwood horror film Killbillies from the Eastern European country of Slovenia, which judging by this movie seems to be scary place along the lines of rural West Virginia here in the U.S.. A place apparently teaming with deformed rednecks hocking homemade moonshine on the roadside and giving the stink-eye to strangers. Killbillies doesn't offer much new by way of backwood weirdos though, borrowing liberally from American horror classics The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes and the more recent Wrong Turn series. What it does offer is a well-produced and nicely executed slice of reality based backwoods horror loaded with carnage and crooked-teeth.

Amateur fashion models Zina (Nina Ivanisin) and Mia (Nika Rozman) are hired for a photo shoot by photographer Blitcz (Sebastian Cavazza) and his assistant Dragica (Manca Ogorevc) for a photo shoot up in the mountains. Arriving at the location they begin to set-up shots when two freaky hillbillies named Francl (Lotos Sparovec) and Vintir (Jurij Drevensek) show up. The brutish Francl is carrying an ax and the hayseeds don't much care for the strangers who have arrived in their neck of the woods. The photographer tries to defuse the hostile encounter but the rednecks are out for blood not fancy city-folk conversation. 

They group are attacked and taken back to a shack in the woods, where they are locked away in the basement by the crooked-toothed weirdos. The hillbillies are not up to what you might expect, they're not  chopping them up for burger meat, nope, they're draining them of their bodily fluids and using that sweet human-nectar to distill some potent form of moonshine which they sell on the roadside. I thought that was a nice and a neat deviation from the usual cannibal-clan sort of backwoods weirdos we are use to in these movies, I also enjoyed the somewhat artful shots of their moonshine set-up and how they drained their victims. Par for the course the fashionistas begin to die in horrific way throughout with a good amount of carnage and gore on screen with a few of the luckier ones managing to free themselves and fleeing to varying degrees of success. 

The cast is decent and the movie is well acted with Zina being a bit of a early badass, while Mia is he more annoying with way more aspiration than actual talent. The photog team of Blitcz and Dragica are decent but are dispatched before either are able to make more than a shallow initial impression. The real fun here are the hillbillies, the hulking brute Francle has some nice make-up work happening on his face, deformed with weird puss-bumps on his face, a real freakish looking guy. His sidekick Vintir looks like Chop Top from TCM2 by way of one of the Wrong Turn hicks with a weird androgynous bent. At one point I thought I saw a collection of women's earrings pinned to his shirt, which was a nice touch. 

The film is well shot taking advantage of the scenic locations in rural Slovenia, a mountainous area with a lush canopy of greenery and gorgeous vistas. I was sort of expecting this to be a low-budget cheapie but I am happy to report the movie has top-notch production values and some truly impressive gore and blood work. The onscreen carnage includes a nice decapitations, blunt-force trauma to the head and a high-speed impact, the gore-hounds will definitely not be disappointed by this one. 

At a brief eighty-three minutes the movie is well-paced with very little filler, it does start-up a bit on the slow side but once the hillbillies arrive on scene it doesn't let up. Worth noting is that Killbillies is Slovenia's first horror movie, and while director Tomaž Gorkič doesn't add anything new to the backwoods-horror canon he does nail the sub genre with deft and bloody execution.