This...is hard for me.
I've seen a lot of movies
from The Asylum. And they've put out a lot to see. Now, generally,
The Asylum can be counted on to turn out a good product--certainly
at the very least a mediocre product--but that has all changed with
the release of "Hillside Cannibals."
you see, is a sick, sad affair involving five twentysomethings out
for a weekend of spelunking (cave exploration for the jargon-challenged)
when they are attacked by a clan of quasi-human cannibals.
This is, apparently,
"based on the terrifying true story of the Sawney Bean clan
that inspired 'The Hills Have Eyes'", which those of you who
haven't been spending your time under a rock for the last few months
will be well aware was remade and released in theatres.
So it's a huge question
on The Asylum's judgment as to just why they'd decide
to pull such an obvious "Me, too!". Maybe it's in keeping
with their recent revival of older, more "classic" films--I
can't be sure.
But the way they went
about it...it makes me shudder to this very moment.
I'm sure that, given
Leigh Scott's directorial ability, this could have been a really
thrilling action / suspense title.
But, thanks in large
part to the train wreck that is the script from writer Steve Bevilacqua,
what we really have here is an exercise in casual brutality and
mindless sadism. Not to mention just really lousy writing.
There are holes in this
plot like no tomorrow. Let's take a rundown of the troubles with
Bevilacqua's script. You may want to grab a snack--this could take
First off, check out
the twelve minute thirty one second mark, in which one of our cannibals
renders a victim for transport. Two strokes of the machete, and
the victim is split completely in half. With almost no blood. And
no real sign of intestines.
I want to mail Bevilacqua
a copy of "Grey's Anatomy" so it will be perfectly clear
that this is, for want of a better term, a long shot bigger than
Secretariat taking the Super Bowl. Unless this cannibal has superhuman
strength a la "Ravenous" or is in possession of the first
ever monomolecular machete, slicing through intestines, the top
of the pelvic bowl, and the human spine in two strokes of a machete
script must have been written with an audience that has an attention
span of gerbils on crack in mind. Because not only will we see a
scene of bloody torment and people eating starting at about twelve
minutes in, that same bloody torment and people eating will come
back roughly fifteen minutes later in a series of disjointed, black
and white flashbacks as our last surviving female lead explains
things to police.
That's right--in case
you missed it, Bevilacqua's going to show it to you again!
Third, with almost twenty
seven minutes left to go, Bevilacqua's going to introduce a whole
new set of characters, including a survivalist type with a grudge
against the cannibals who will last all of about ten minutes before
being killed messily. I barely know why he's there.
The back of the box is
no help either. We know the party is going spelunking, and the back
of the box says that the clan can be found in "seaside caves".
Well...unless I missed something the size of the Pacific Ocean,
I see sky, I see rock, I hear wind and coyotes but I don't see so
much as a DROP of water anywhere in sight.
This was just a lousy
movie. When it wasn't being cruel or sadistic or actively participating
in the gore-for-gore's-sake school of filmmaking, it was being unintentionally
comic. Watch how the cannibals interrelate through grunts and gestures.
It's like watching "Gorillas in the Mist," only with a
lot more blood. Oh, and this time around, the gorillas ate Dian
The ending is an insult.
It's a fifteen minute stretch of face-wearing, people-eating, flashbacks,
attempted rapes, cannibal sex, screeching, and an assortment of
lesser events that have no bearing on what little plot there is.
The special features
include audio options, a behind the scenes featurette, and filmmaker's
commentary, along with trailers for “When a Killer Calls”,
“Exorcism: The Possession of Gail Bowers”, “Shapeshifter”,
“King of the Lost World”, and of course “Hillside
All in all, this was
the single worst thing I've ever seen from a studio I've come to
expect big things from. My disappointment will say more than any
string of invective I could have launched.
GRADE: No stars
Directed by Leigh Scott
Written by Steve Bevilacqua
Starring Heather Conforto, Tom Nagel, Vaz Andreas, Tom Downey
Produced by David Michael Latt, David Rimawi, Sherri Strain
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