Ever wondered what it would be like if the crazy family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre were interested in filmmaking? Yeah, me neither, but apparently the people in Dark Castle were, since this is the basic plot of the film. Young film student Tyler (Tad Hildenbrink) is obsessed with finding a 70’s exploitation film called ‘The Hills Run Red’, a film so notorious that everyone involved in it disappeared, along with the prints. He is however, able to track down a young actress, and the director’s daughter, Alexa (Sophie Monk). So, Alexa leads Tyler and his team that includes his girlfriend (Janet Montgomery) and best friend (Mike Straub) into backwoods country to return to the film’s locations and find out about the film. Of course, soon they all start getting murdered, and find out that the famous film may not be as fictitious as one would hope.
This movie had an already tired idea (that oddly enough, was better done as a Masters of Horror episode, Cigarette Burns) and mixes it with every single horror cliché that’s ‘hot’ at the moment. You want a Jason-like killer who runs around, breathes heavily and strikes evil poses? Check. You want a crazy backwoods family? Check. You want torture set pieces, lighting, editing and flashback sequences straight outta the Saw franchise? Check. The lack of originality in this film is incredible. I mean, I know I review a lot of questionable films in this blog, but at least most of them try to be their own film. I really wanted to like it but I just couldn’t. And I thought Dark Castle were done making shit movies after the brilliant Orphan, but boy was I wrong. It doesn’t help that the acting sucks just as bad. The three ‘leads’ in the film are terrible, and to top it off look too fucking young for the part. Am I supposed to believe this Tyler character is a well-rounded film student? He looks like he hasn’t dropped his fucking balls yet! And let’s take time to talk about the horror that is Sophie Monk. She can’t emote, she can’t show any kind of character transition, and she has no ability to create a scary character. It’s obvious they just wanted a hot piece of ass for the role, and they got it. At least she’s naked for almost half her screentime in her film, so it’s not a total waste. She should really consider a porn career.
But hey, you want to know about the gore, right? Well, granted, the film is pretty gory, but none of it is really satisfying. The first sequence of a kid peeling off his face is pretty cool, but the rest comes off as either uninspired makeup effects or, even worse, some bad CGI gore. What is up with the CGI gore these days? None of it looks realistic, so why bother? I will give the film credit for one thing though, and that it had a really great production design. The last scene in particular, with the movie theatre littered with corpses, was a very inspired twist. But alas, it was too little too late. I say run from this movie, don’t make the same mistake I did. Remember, you can find Sophie Monk naked on the internet, you don’t have to rent this to see her.