The Hills Are Alive (Caroline Thompson, 2008)
[note: review originally published 30Nov2008]
When I saw the trailer for this on Chiller TV, they made it sound as if it were a movie. Thus duped, I DVRed it for viewing later on. When I actually sat down to watch it, I spent the first ten minutes wondering why on Earth I was doing so, and the final eighty wondering how much worse this thing could possibly get. And then—the ending. Or, really, not the ending. It turns out this “movie” is, in fact, the first few episodes (or “websiodes”, if you’re trying really, really hard to be cool and failing miserably) of an exclusive-to-the-Internet…something. Movie? TV series? I don’t know. But after watching the part I did watch, I certainly had no interest in finding out.
This campy, microbudget Blair Witch ripoff gives us three college students looking for a sacred site in the mountains of Ojai, CA. For the first third of what we have in the movie version, they’re getting set up. The rest of it is them wandering around in the woods and doing very weird things. Or are the weird things hallucinations on the parts of those seeing the weird things? You may be able to find out if you go watch the rest of it (you can find the links to the whole series—assuming the whole thing is out by now—at chillertv.com—in the “videos” section, not the “series” section, oddly). Yeah, there are some interesting conceits to make it a variation on a theme, like the two really creepy-looking baby dolls one of the characters lugs around everywhere she goes, but that’s not enough to balance the awful acting, (intentionally) washed-out look of the daylight scenes, the utter lack of plot once we’re in the woods, etc., etc. And once I found out I’d spent ninety minutes watching this horrid thing and I wasn’t actually going to see the ending? I threw stuff at the TV. It’s all marketing hype, and it’s marketing hype for a really, really badly-made web series. Awful from front to back. (zero)