Hillside Cannibals (2006) Review

Hillside Cannibalsby Michael Sieber, MoreHorror.com

One of my favorite scenes from The Silence of the Lambs is when Catherine captures Buffalo Bill's dog, Precious, in the hopes of negotiating a release. During the confrontation, Catherine says, “Don't make me hurt your dog!” to which Buffalo Bill replies, “You don't know what pain is!”

I bring this up because I know what pain is – it's sitting through the endurance test called Hillside Cannibals, or as I like to call it, The Hills Have Cannibals.

I call it that because this film claims to be based on the legend of, Sawney Bean, a man who lived in 15th or 16th century Scotland and was purported to be the head of a clan who lived in a cave and practiced cannibalism. It is this legend that Wes Craven supposedly used for his inspiration to write, The Hills Have Eyes.

While the legend of Bean and his clan of cannibals took place a few centuries ago, Hillside Cannibals places Bean and his clan in modern times; the only references to the historical figure is that the Sawney character wears a kilt and occasionally grunts the name, Sawney Bean. I think it would have been interesting if this film had been set in the 15th century as a historical horror film, but I suppose that would have been too expensive and too much work. So what we have here is the typical plot device of a bunch of obnoxious teens who go out into the wilderness to party and get attacked by a monster/killer/evil force/etc.

The biggest problem with this film is that the story jumps around so much that it doesn't build up any tension or suspense. First the boyfriend gets captured, then he and his girlfriend escape, then he gets captured again, then a man who's hunting the cannibals shows up, and then the sheriff shows up (who's in on it, of course) then another group of teens shows up, but they're killed off almost instantly, then the hunter (wearing warpaint no less) who was set up for a big showdown is killed off. It's incoherent and it's quite evident that there wasn't much of a story because of all the padding that takes place. We've got lengthy scenes of people eating body parts and flashbacks to scenes we saw not five-minutes ago, and too many scenes of one of the clan trying to figure out an iPod that's been loaded up with royalty free music pulled off the web because licensing actual tunes would've added too much to the budget.

The movie is also very dark, not just in tone, but physically dark since much of it takes place in the cannibals' cave where the only lighting comes from candles, so it's tough to see what's going on at times.

For gore hounds there's a fair amount here, and you can see nearly all of it in the trailer so there's no need to sit through this film. There's also an attempt at a shock ending that I don't want to give away, but I'll give you a hint: the girl that keeps getting away ends up joining the clan.

Oops. Sorry.

But seriously, I just saved you an hour and twenty-minutes of watching people in really bad Halloween costumes jump around and grunt while trying to be scary.

Recommended only if you truly want to know what pain is.

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