Lets do the time warp (again?)...The year was 1995 and a young Mister Joshua had recently matriculated in to a small liberal arts college in southern Pennsylvania. Among all the new experiences, drinks, classes and friends, I met this awesome dude who lived across the hall fro me named Pat. Pat was a bit of a neat freak, but also a huge horror movie an. It's through Pat that I first saw Evil Dead, Return of the Living Dead, and a little Trauma released film names Redneck Zombies. Shot on video Redneck Zombies is famous for it's cheesiness and it's charm. It's the same feeling I got when I watched Ben Arvin's feature debut, Hills and Hollars.
Much like Redneck Zombies, Hills and Hollars takes you to the backwoods outback in search of some grisly horror. However, where as Redneck Zombies wears it's humor on it's sleeve, Arvin plays Hill and Hollars rather straight. The plot is your basic paint by numbers Texas Chainsaw Massacre variant that independent horror features have been ripping off for decades. Various youths run afoul of a murderous backwoods clan. Killing ensues. Youths fight back. The viewer is happy.
From a production point of view, Hills and Hollars is a bit of a mess - even for a sub-microbudget feature. The acting is pretty poor, there is hardly any gore, and the editing might have been done by a drunk child on an Amiga. Yet, despite all of these obvious negatives, Arvin is able in infuse Hills and Hollars with a large enough dose of charm, coupled with some real tension building skill to produce a pretty effective little horror feature. It's not going to compete with the flashier horror films out there, but it doesn't want to. Hills and Hollars fills a neat little micro area of film, one that is probably only something that can happen in horror. If you have a whole lot of drive and even a small modicum of talent, you can make an acceptable product.
** stars out of *****
Hills and Hollars is now available on Amazon HERE. Check it out and support Ben Arvin and independent horror.