Just in time for Halloween, the fine folks at Artsploitation Films have offered up a great slasher flick from overseas. Granted, the plot might sound familiar (what slasher film DOESN’T sound familiar, though?), but there’s still plenty to love about KILLBILLIES. Full of gut-wrenching carnage and unbridled tension, this movie will make an excellent addition to your holiday viewing this year.
If you are not familiar with KILLBILLIES, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Artsploitation Films:
Proving that the American South does not hold a monopoly on sexually depraved, bloodthirsty hillbillies, Killbillies depicts a harrowing tale of abduction, violence and hoped-for survival. A group of fashionistas from the city out on idyllic countryside hilltop are confronted by two physically deformed psychopathic countrymen. A wild, bloody, taut clash ensues between urban and rural, women and men, between savages and civilized man.
You know you’re in for a hell of ride just by looking at the DVD cover. The image of the evil, mutated bastard on the front screams “horror fun”, and thankfully the movie delivers.
KILLBILLIES is shot very well and looks great onscreen. The movie was filmed in Slovenia, and the cinematography does an amazing job of capturing the picturesque landscape in vivid detail. I wish this had been given a Blu-ray release, as I would love to see the scenery in HD.
The acting is very good, with a solid cast of folks I’ve never heard of before. Nina Ivanisin does an excellent job as Zina, the main character. She is joined by Lotos Sparovec, who plays Francl, the hideous “killbilly” featured on the cover. Like his leading lady, Sparovec does a great job in his role and offers a convincing (and horrifying) portrayal. Their supporting cast is top-notch, and they all mesh well as a whole.
The special effects in KILLBILLIES look superb onscreen, and there’s several nice scenes of gore to enjoy. One particularly gruesome scene involves Zina chopping off the hand of a “killbilly” and then hacking him to death with an ax. And speaking of the titular baddies, the make-up effects for the backwoods killers is also impressive. They look a lot like the inbred cannibals from the WRONG TURN franchise, but there’s nothing at all wrong with that.
When it comes to intensity, this film really knows how to take it up a notch. The tension is as thick as pasta and just as tasty; I found myself riveted to my seat for the last half of the film. My favorite scene plays out inside the mutant’s hovel, when Zina and her companion are trying to make their way through the darkened passageways without rousing their captors. This scene lasts for several minutes, but you’ll bite your fingernails down to nubs as it unfolds.
I also have to mention the ending. I did NOT see it coming, and I love how everything plays out. Some of you will probably hate it, but I actually found it fitting in a sense.
KILLBILLIES is a big win for me, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I’m really happy to discover other countries can do backwoods slashers as well as we can, and I hope director Tomaz Gorkic has something just as fun up his sleeve for his next project. KILLBILLIES hits store shelves today, so make a note to snag it for your weekend Halloween festivities.