Directed by: Tomaz Gorkic
Cast: Nina Ivanisin, Lotos Sparovec, Nika Rozman
Killbillies looks amazing. It’s got a ton of gorgeous scenic shots, solid performances and some amazing practical effects. So why doesn’t it work? Because there’s no story here, and in 2016, I think genre fans are growing weary of these movies that recycle abused ideas while completely neglecting ingenuity. The simple fact of the matter is – again – there is no story here, it’s just an idea that could make up a solid short stretched to painfully long lengths.
The “story” follows part-time model Zina who heads out to the Slovenian countryside for a quick photoshoot. Once out in the gorgeous countryside, two hideous hillbillies approach, attack and take Zina, another model, a photographer, and his assistant, captive. We take an immediate jump forward and see that this little group is being held in a basement or cellar of some sort. One by one they’re attacked (there’s a purpose, but it’s the only surprise the film offers, so you won’t get any spoilers from us) and killed until our final girl is left to tangle with these hillbillies alone.
20 years ago a movie like this may have worked a lot better than it does today, as it’s essentially a foreign rendition of Wrong Turn, and we’ve now explored the insane redneck gimmick to the point of exhaustion. Just the same, Wrong Turn worked because it felt frenetic and while we haven’t strayed too far from this concept since Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre hit the masses back in 1974, there was a dearth of properly promoted sub-genre flicks out there for years. In the 13 years since Wrong Turn’s arrival, a hell of a lot of different filmmakers have attempted to make this idea successful again, and it rarely pans out. In the case of Killbillies, we never care much about Zina, one way or the other, and the other characters in the film feel as though they’re just there to pad the body count.
I intentionally kept clear of reviews and even trailers when it came to Killbillies, because the name alone piqued my interest. Sadly, it just doesn’t have the depth to inspire viewers to invest much in the film. We’ve got a final girl that we should theoretically pull for, but she isn’t particularly likable and her insistence on making miserable decisions during the final act of the flick don’t help the cause, at all. If you’re just after a quick, sometimes gory thrill, this movie may work for you. If you love National Geographic videos with plenty of lush green landscapes, this movie might work for you. If you’re after a solid horror movie that tells a compelling story and introduces some riveting characters, steer clear, because Killbillies will somehow manage to bore you to tears.
The movie grabs a two-star rating from us, and those two stars are tied up firmly in Tomaz Gorkic’s understanding of visual presentation and nothing more. Once more, this 2016, give us something stimulating, not rehashed and tired.