Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Hillside Strangler (2004)

Director: Chuck Parello

Writers: Stephen Johnston, Chuck Parello

Composer: Danny Saber

Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Nicholas Turturro, Allison Lange, Marisol Padilla Sanchez, Jennifer Tisdale, Kent King, Aimee Brooks, Natasha Melnick, Damon Whitaker, Brandin Rackley, Jessica Allegra, Roz Witt, Lin Shaye

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Based On A True Story

Plot: Based on the true story of the Hillside Strangler who terrorized Los Angeles in 1978 and 1979. No one knew that the brutal serial sex killings were the work of not one man, but cousins!

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

I'm always a little hesitant to watch movies based on real serial killers.  Maybe it's because the true story is generally more horrific than what the screenwriters come up with.  It's also an easy opportunity for a low budget filmmaker to get a horror picture noticed.  I've been pleasantly surprised before and this one is added to the list of films in this genre I will re-watch.  It's a very good picture.  Right off the bat you'll notice the acting is fantastic.  Howell and Turturro are fantastic.  They work really well together.  The supporting cast is great, too, without a bad performance in the bunch.  And the best scene to prove it?  The dinner scene with Ken (Howell), Angelo (Turturro) and Angelo's mother, Jenny (Shaye).  Lin Shaye's performance really ratchets things up a few notches.  I was impressed.  It does take a while before the killings start but it's interesting as hell and there isn't a moment of dead time (regarding the pacing) anywhere.  It's so good it's got me wanting to watch more about these two guys.  It's a good looking picture with a fine score and the filmmakers did a great job of taking us back to the 1970s.  The way they incorporate vintage street footage as the boys are driving around is ingenious.  I don't know how much of this picture sticks to the facts but at no time did it seem unreasonable.  Highly recommended.

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