We’ve had a slew of backwoods horror films and the like, most notably The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes. And for what ever reason, we just can’t get enough of them. Just look at the Wrong Turn series for example, how many sequels are there now? Anyway, I think we have an affliction to them because they’re quite simple in form and you know what you’re going to get; someone is going to get messed up!
So, from Tomaz Gorkic comes his feature debut, Killbillies aka Idyll, from the country of Slovenia. And having a look into the history of Slovenian cinema, I think there have only been maybe one or two horror films from the country and in all honesty I’m scratching my head as to why? Judging by Killbillies, the location is absolutely beautiful, it’s stunning in fact. It makes for the perfect backdrop for a horror film, especially those who get lost in the mountains and wilderness.
Anyway, Killbillies follows a couple of models and their manager/photographer as they set out for a photo-shoot in the Slovenian countryside. Along the way they stop off at a local market of sorts, where a couple of locals are selling their own brand of liquor, although I don’t think they have got the selling technique down just yet, as one of the locals beginnings ridiculing the manager, Blitcz (Sebastian Cavazza) for not being man enough to taste their goods and soon the local goes into a fit of hysterics.
Soon enough, the young group leave and venture off to their location. Here the models, Zina (Nina Ivanisin) and Mia (Nika Rozman) prepare to have their pictures taken in the idyllic countryside of Slovenia. But before they can take a single picture, along comes a couple of hillbillies to disrupt their day. At first, the group aren’t swayed by their appearance and disfigurement, which I thought was a true testament, as far too often our protagonists run away screaming at the sight of someone with a slight disfigurement. So, they try to calm down the situation, but these hillbillies aren’t your Tucker and Dale type, this duo ain’t here to play a game of Monopoly!
Before you can blink, our young group are beaten and taken away into an underground cellar where they await their fate, but with no possible way out, it turns into a game of fight or die.
This one actually took me by surprise, as with a name like Killbillies, I was expecting some knock-off of Wrong Turn, but what we actually get is something crafted together really well. The film is beautifully shot and all the acting holds up extremely well, especially Nina Ivanisin as Nina. But props also need to go to the main antagonist, Vintlr, played by Jurij Drevensek. Even though most of his face was covered with make-up effects, he really nailed it. He delivered a genuinely frightening performance as this mammoth powerhouse, and I’m sure he’d give Jason Voorhees a run for his money
And speaking of special effects, the team on hand here delivered some truly brutal scenes. Brace yourselves for some serious face bashing carnage and plenty of brain-matter throughout. If you like and appreciate practical effects, you will love what the team have put together with this one.
What I really liked about this one though is that the hillbillies, although probably angry at the beautiful people, is that they had a motive and drive for their killings. There was some kind of award at the end of it, I suppose in the same way as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre with the selling of human meat. So it wasn’t just hillbillies killing, they had a purpose.
I really do urge you to check this one out, it played out very well, had some really grotesque violence and the story was intriguing. And, I know I’ve said it already, but the entire cast was killer, they really seemed to gel together. So, if you’re after some hillbilly horror action, keep your eyes peeled for this one from Artsploitation Films this October 25th.