Another welcome low budget indie release from the nice folk at Cryptkeeper? Well after the somewhat disappointing show by 'Carnage Road' our fingers are crossed for something a bit more entertaining. So with a certain amount of wary anticipation I sat back to check out 'Hells Highway'.
As the opening titles roll a narrators voice explains how at the turn of the last century a pioneer of the US's old Wild West got lost in the wilderness and when the food ran out he killed himself so his starving wife could eat. But as her cannibal delicacies started to run dry she herself cursed god for leaving her in such a woeful predicament and pleaded with Satan to help her survive. We cut to modern day Death Valley and the aptly named Hells Highway of the films title where we see a priest pick up a young female hitch hiker, after drinking some water offered by the priest (holy water that is) the girl starts reacting violently. Running from the car the priest gives chase and repeatedly stabs the girl in the stomach but after burying her corpse she swiftly returns to split the priests skull in two.
As the film starts proper we meet two young couples as they journey on their extended road trip through said Hells Highway en route to a beach break. It's the usual drink, drugs and high spirits with the entourage until they stupidly stop to pick up a certain female hitchhiker. It's not long before they realise the mistake they've made when our psychotic hitcher pulls out a gun and threatens to thrust it up one of the poor girls hoochies...though this is the least of their worries as they swiftly are consumed into a dark and violent hell with no seeming escape!
Well bless my cotton socks, admittedly I was somewhat wary of heading into 'Hells Highway' after my trip down 'Carnage Road' but welcomingly 'Hells Highway' had everything right that the other movie failed to offer. First off, although we have the same old four teens in a highway journey into peril scenario this one has some substance with not only a fun involved plot but good solid performances by the actors involved (oh and mention should be made to the hilarious cameo by porn god Ron Jeremy who meets an appropriately bloody end!) Add to this Phoebe Dollar who is great as evil psycho devil lady Lucinda (those eyes!) and some vastly impressive gory effects (and yes there's plenty of grue here for splatter fans) 'Hells Highway' is one of the more refreshing and enjoyable low budget horror flicks around at the moment.
The presentation here from Cryptkeeper is a solid enough show, considering this is another low budget shot on video production it actually plays a lot better than you would normally expect. The image is decent enough with only the mildest of grain that is inherent of a NTSC to PAL video transfer, the audio is fine throughout with only some high bass present from the source master. As for extras, there's the always welcome inclusion of the films trailer which nicely teases you with some of the fun to come (both in gore and horror action) and there's a ten minute behind the production segment called 'Curse of Hells Highway' which contains interviews with all the key players who discuss all the unfortunate incidents that took place during the films production.
'Hells Highway' is one of the more gratifying independent features I've seen in some time, it's got just the right balance of old school horror fun, atmosphere and gore - all well delivered with good acting, some great bloody gore and a decent plot and similarly impressive direction by writer/director Jeff Leroy. Likewise this uncut release from Cryptkeeper is a solid package that warrants your attention - I thoroughly enjoyed this one, sure it's not very challenging but still a whole lot of fun (and who still remembers when watching horror movies was fun?) Check it out.
Review by Alan Simpson
'Hell's Highway' can be ordered direct from Cryptkeeper by clicking here.
|Released by Cryptkeeper|
|Rated 18 - Region All (PAL)|
|Trailer, Behind the Scenes|