KILL DEVIL HILL
Reviewed by: Dave Murray
What's it about
Based on an unsolved crime that sparked a series of grisly event in North Carolina, this short film tells the story of a father and son who go hiking in the Kill Devil Hills area, and get possessed by a floating spiny goat head demon. Later that night, the father has a freak out, and stumbles like a zombie into the his sons' room with a kitchen knife, and well, shocking brutality ensues.
Is it good movie?
Short films are usually hit or miss with me. They have to be something really special to grab my attention and rock my ass off in the short amount of time I spend with them. From the quality of the visuals, to the superb acting, to the shock and brutality of the kills, Kill Devil Hill was like a gunshot of concentrated horror awesomeness straight to my head. Director Ace Jordan has managed to do in 12 minutes what many feature directors spend their entire careers trying to achieve. By gut punching the audience with a shocking and tragic scene of violence he has created real horror, horror that can be felt like a physical blow and as such has a lasting effect.
I'll warn you now, if you have a problem with depictions of violence against children, this one may not be for you. Also, if you plan on experiencing this amazing short, stop reading because there are spoilers ahead.
The flick starts off with a slow burn as the mother puts the two boys to bed. We are then treated to a montage of scenes of the father and son walking through the woods, where some bad demon juju takes place. The spinning goat head effect was nicely done, and I have to say here that the production value through this entire movie was top notch. It looked and felt like a feature film. The actors were believable, the tone was ominous throughout, and the build up to the climax was torturous. You knew something very bad was coming, from the excellent music and effects, to the sense of terror that built through to the final scenes. But all of this, excellent as it was, pales in comparison to the risky closing scenes. Brutal violence against children is barely if at all shown in modern horror cinema, and if it is, it's usually as the punchline to some sick joke. Here it's handled as exactly what it is - horrific and nightmare inducing. The way the father kills his two boys on camera was a giant risk, and in this case it pays off mightily. As a horror fan, I knew that at this point it all became immediate and real, and the reaction of the mother as she walked into a nightmare in her kids' room was heartbreaking and the perfect level of horrific to end the short on. I applaud Jordan for having the balls to not only do it, but to pull it off and make it work for his movie. There was a great buildup, and the payoff from the climax is that it is impossible to forget.
I only had one real problem with this one, and that was that it was a short film. I so wanted this to be a feature, especially after the final scenes. I wanted to see just how far it would go in its depiction of horror. The movie had the quality and the chops to be a feature, and I think this speaks volumes for what Jordan would be capable of with a longer movie. I can't wait to see what he follows this up with. There is equal parts talent and guts in this movie, and for fans of horror who aren't afraid to watch what the reality of it can be, this short is a must see.
Video / Audio
Video: Hard to tell on this screener, but it looks like standard widescreen. The film has a professional look about it that is feature quality.
Audio: The sound played fine through a Dolby 5.1 Surround setup.
Nothing else on this screener, but the short speaks for itself.
With a graphic scene of murder that brings the horror home like a mighty kick to the nuts Kill Devil Hill doesn't pull any punches and becomes not only unforgettable, but also an awesome piece of horror cinema. It feels like the opening scenes to a feature film (and a great one at that), and the director shows both talent and balls in pulling off this nasty little possession story. He really makes the audience feel the horror, and the movie is better than most Hollywood horror features I've seen in the last decade. I can't put it any more simply that this - I love this short!