KILLBILLIES (2015) Reviews and overview

   

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‘The hills are alive with the sound of… slaughter!’

Killbillies – original title: Idila (“Idyll”) – is a 2015 Slovenian horror feature film written and directed by Tomaz Gorkic (The Curse of Valburga). The movie stars Nina Ivanisin, Lotos Sparovec, Nika Rozman and Sebastian Cavazza.

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A group of fashionistas from the city, including models Zina (Nina Ivanisin) and Mia (Nika Rozman), make-up artist Dragica (Manca Ogorevc) and photographer Blitcz (Sebastian Cavazza), begin to shoot on an idyllic countryside hilltop.

However, two physically deformed psychopathic countrymen approach them and quickly attack. After the terrified group finds themselves chained in a basement and awaiting their gruesome fate, they decide they must fight no matter what the odds. A wild, bloody, taut clash ensues between urban and rural, women and men, between savages and civilized man…

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Review [may contain spoilers]:

Killbillies is an undeniably snappy little title, yet one suspects that it might lose this film the audience that would appreciate it best. After all, Killbillies sounds a bit like the sort of thing Troma would put out, whereas this is rather more interesting than most of their output. That said, the original (translated) title, Idyll, might not be as much of an audience grabber.

Apparently the first Slovenian horror film, this is an agreeably old school backwoods horror – one that wears the influence of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre proudly on its sleeve. Hey, if you are going to be influenced by anything, that’s a good a choice as any, and this film does a good job of creating an agreeable pastiche.

Photographer Blitcz (Sebastian Cavazza) heads out to the countryside for a fashion shoot with two models – the slightly over-the-hill and bitter Zina (Nina Ivanisin) and her up-and-coming rival Mia (Nika Rozman) – and an assistant, only to find that professional rivalries are the last thing anyone has to worry about.

They are rapidly attacked and imprisoned by a family of inbred and mutated rednecks, led by Francl (Lotos Sparovec), and before long, only the two models are still alive, with sexual assault, torture and mutilation firmly on the
menu. Eventually, we are down to the Final Girl, who makes her escape from the isolated farmhouse where she is kept prisoner, pursued by the mutant family members.

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Slickly shot, with impressively brutal and extreme moments of gore, well-rounded characters, an effectively dark sense of humour and a genuine sense of madness, Killbillies is surprisingly satisfying. Writer-director Tomaz Gorkic isn’t afraid to play with expectations – when the redneck characters are killed, he allows them to be humanised and show both pain and emotion, something usually lacking from slasher movies. And the film manages to introduce leading characters who are equally developed, believable and sympathetic – a rare thing in modern horror. When the movie ends in a moment of remarkably cynical nihilism, it comes as a real shock and feels genuinely tragic.

Horror films used to be like this quite frequently. These days, films like this are sadly few and far between. While perhaps a touch too derivative to be a classic in the making, Killbillies turns out to be an unexpected treat, and well worth your time.

David Flint, MOVIES & MANIA

Other reviews:

“…isn’t going to win any awards, nor does it break new ground as far as the cannibal sub-genre goes. What it does do is offer solid entertainment value through nasty and explicit action. I love the title, as well as the Slovenian backdrop and the dynamic cinematography that highlights it.” AdamTheMovieGod

“I found Killbillies to be quite a surprise. It looked like it would be a cheesy movie, but it  turned out to be the opposite. There may be some dark humour here and there with the murders, but for the most part, it’s a serious, well-shot film.” From the Mind of Tatlock

“While this was an enjoyable piece, it’s nothing memorable. There’s not much to it, and the lack of suspense makes the 20-minute chase scene in the climax drag on endlessly. There was a point where my internal monologue finally screamed out, “Is it over yet?” Solid performances, plenty of irony and technical achievements to tout for days, Killbillies is good, but not great.” Horrorfreak News

“Brace yourselves for some serious face bashing carnage and plenty of brain-matter throughout. If you like and appreciate practical effects, you will love what the team have put together with this one … I really do urge you to check this one out, it played out very well, had some really grotesque violence and the story was intriguing.” HorrorMovies.ca

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“Some fantastic effects also make Idila shine brightly. Again, it’s hard to tell if the actors are wearing makeup or not, but once the blood is shed, these moments feel chillingly real due to the complexity and subtlety of the gore shown. This is one good looking, harrowingly effective, sublimely acted, and gruelingly bloody film.” Ain’t It Cool News

“All of the make-up effects, within Killbillies, are well done, thus increasing the film’s shock factor. While the film does stick a little too closely to Tobe Hooper’s groundbreaking picture, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, there is still a lot to commend Tomaz Gorkic for. Slasher film fans are encouraged to take a walk down this darkened, bloodied and corpse filled memory lane.” 28 Days Later Analysis

Main cast:

Nina Ivanisin, Lotos Sparovec, Nika Rozman, Sebastian Cavazza, Jurij Drevensek, Manca Ogorevc, Damjana Cerne, Matic Bobnar, Damir Leventic, Ajda Smrekar, Liza Marija Grasic, Kaja Janjic, Klemen Nadler, Polona Torkar, Luka Zivec, Nada Bozic, Kristof Modic, Jana Nucic, Tomaz Pangersic

Release:

Killbillies was released in North America on DVD on October 25, 2016, by Artsploitation Films.

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