Monday 5 October 2009

The Hills Run Red

An open letter to the movie The Hills Run Red.

Dear THRR,

First let me say, fuck you. I don't hate you, but fuck you all the same.

To be fair, I wasn't sure what to expect when I sat down to watch you. I'd reviewed your trailer, making up stuff about your plot, commenting on how much you seemed to borrow from other films, etc. Just having fun, really.

And then you had to go and prove me right. I hate being right. I mean, I love it when I'm right, but I didn't want to be right about you. And what's worse is that I was right about the stupidest thing. That speaks poorly for both me and you. So again, fuck you.

So you're about a guy named Tyler who's obsessing over this 20 year-old film called "The Hills Run Red". The movie played for about half an hour before it was pulled from theatres and destroyed. Now all that remains is a crappy trailer and legendary stories about the film's brutality. So Tyler tracks down the filmmaker's daughter, Alexa, and together with two other friends, Lalo and Serena, they head off into the woods to visit locations and find the man's house with the end goal of finding a print of "The Hills Run Red".

It's not a terrible idea. But soon after they enter the woods, your story falls apart. And then, when they get to the house... God, what a mess. Not only is Tyler making a movie about looking for this movie, but we find out that they're all being filmed on the sly. So it's a movie about a movie about a movie about a movie.

Post-post-postmodernism. Which makes you twice more irritating than most self-reflexive horror movies. And you're not even smart about it. Oh sure, you're filled with preposterous dialogue about the nature of film and whatnot, but your deliberate references to recursive cinema and the fourth wall only alienate your audience. And yeah, you try to characterize horror movies past and present with a father-daughter production team, but you completely undermine your point by failing to actually include any subtext: you are one stupid revelation after another without context.

And don't even get me started on your film-within-a-film! If nothing but a one-minute trailer exists of "The Hills Run Red", how does Tyler know so much about the content of the film? And if Alexa has orchestrated this whole thing whereby she surreptitiously films everyone's hunt for her father's movie, how did she know Tyler was going to look her up to begin with? You can't provide me with any satisfactory answers because you yourself don't know.

You had an idea and you ran with it before checking to make sure it was ready to go.

For all these reasons, I say fuck you. Fuck you for poorly drawn and inconsistent characters, your inane twist, and your gratuitous torture. You set out to be something more than the sum of your parts, and amounted to nothing, squandering your premise on cheep storytelling tactics and manipulation. You had some good gore and an interesting killer, but your inability to fully and truly understand the horror genre, in spite of your musings on the subject, means you're just an empty shell. You have all the appearance of a horror movie but none of the substance.

So fuck you.

With love from,
The Divemistress

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