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KILLBILLIES (2015)

… a tale of two titles.

TOKEN HOMO spent a late night having some NSA fun with Tomaz Gorkic’s 2015 Slovenian hicksploitation slasher, KILLBILLIES.

Awkwardly renamed to sell (more on that in a bit…), this Central European cousin of backwoods shocker WRONG TURN is possibly too familiar to stand much taller than its inbred kinfolk. Indeed, its urbanoia-themed tale of soft-skinned city folk stumbling across murderous hooch-brewing mutants in the mountains packs few surprises. What sets it apart are some sumptuous cinematography, welcome practical gore effects and a truly mesmerising (if you ignore the mid-credit sting) final image that will seer itself into your brain.

But what of that title?

If “KILLBILLIES” had fully evolved into a STREET TRASH style splatter-fest, TOKEN HOMO would have been smiling all the way to the proverbial foyer. As it stands, the marketing rebrand draws too much attention to what the film isn’t quite. Yes, there are some grungy kills but there’s also an otherworldly tone that holds the film back from the brink of hell. It’s as if the broad characterisations, crude gore and travel brochure landscapes are being held hostage by a higher purpose…

Much better is the irony of the original Slovenian title “IDILA” – which translates as IDYLL – and the beautiful fairytale poster that accompanies it (see below). They suggest a different film entirely, something much more like recent scandi troll coming of age squelchy love-fest, BORDER.

It’s amazing what one word can do.

“What is it Francl? Do you have a boo-boo on your arm?”

KILLBILLIES

In brief: An urbanoia-themed tale of soft-skinned city folk stumbling across murderous hooch-brewing mutants in the mountains.

Strapline: “The hills are alive with the sound of slaughter.”

Distribution notes: KILLBILLIES streams on Amazon Video in the UK. Artsploitation Films distributes the movie stateside.


An earlier version of this review was posted at radiantcircus.com.