Released by: Artsploitation Films
Released on: October 25th, 2016.
Director: Tomas Gorkic
Cast: Nina Ivanisin, Lotos Sparovec, Nika Rozman, Sebastian Cavazza, Jurij Drevensek
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Is this the first slasher film to come out of Slovenia? Maybe. Killbillies (originally entitled Idila) begins when an amateur model named Zina (Nina Ivanisin) heads out into the woods for a shoot. Along for the ride are a few other models named Mia (Nika Rozman) and Dragica (Manca Ogorevc) as well as their pretentious photographer Blitcz (Sebastian Cavazza).
Not surprisingly, given that this is a horror movies, as our crew strolls through the woods they come across a few of the local yocals, best described as… odd. They don’t pay much attention to these guys and continue on their way until they find the perfect location for the shoot – a beautiful and remarkably serene meadow unspoiled by the modern world. They setup and go about their business until they’re attacked by Francl (Lotos Sparovec) and Vintlr (Jurij Drevensek) who claim to own the property. As the true nature of Francl and Vintlr comes to light, Zina and the others fight themselves in a battle for survival, an ordeal that not all of them will survive.
Killbillies is an odd mix in that it blends the world of a high fashion photo shoot and glamorous models with backwoods ‘hillbilly’ culture. Worlds collide in a sense. Francl and Vintlr are definitely off, they’re not right in the head at all and clearly out to do harm, but at the same time the city slickers are hardly angels themselves. The movie goes at a nice clip, cruising along at eighty-three minutes or so in length so as not to overstay its welcome. We get enough character development here to ensure that the characters don’t overlap too much and just when you think you know where it’s all heading, the ending winds up taking things in an admirably different direction.
The acting in the film is decent. It’s not of an award winning caliber but it’s perfectly sufficient. The girls all look great while Sebastian Cavazza plays the snooty photographer perfectly. Lotos Sparovec and Jurij Drevensek are decent as the killers. They’ve got decent screen presence and the movie makes them reasonably intimidating thanks to some solid camerawork. The kill scenes are bloody enough to satiate most slasher fans and they hit with some decent impact. The movie is also really nicely shot, making great use of its Eastern European locations by showing off how beautiful they are, but also how remote they are.
Killbillies is presented in 1.78.1 on this DVD from Artsploitation Films. This was shot on high definition digital video with a modest budget, but the picture quality itself is decent. Colors are well produced and black levels are fine. Obviously there’s no print damage, and detail is reasonably strong here.
The Slovenian language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound track, which comes with optional English language subtitles, is quite good. There’s a fair bit of rear channel action in the more intense scenes that helps to build atmosphere and which play around with the score in interesting ways. Again, this a low budget movie so despite the fact that there’s a lot of chaos in the movie, it never envelops us the way a fancier mix might, but what’s here sounds quite good. Dialogue is well balanced as are the effects.
No extras outside of a trailer, static menus and chapter selection.
The Final Word:
Killbillies isn’t going to win any awards for originality but as far as low budget slashers go, this is a pretty decent watch. There are some good kills, some decent makeup and some great location photography. Artsploitation Films’ DVD release looks and sounds pretty decent. Fans of modern indie horror should have a good time with this.