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KING OF THE HILL
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Reviewed by: Dave Murray

Directed by: Gonzalo López-Gallego

Starring:
Leonardo Sbaraglia
María Valverde
Thomas Riordan
Andrés Juste

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
After a dirty quickie in a roadside toilet (that's just so wrong!), a poor luckless bastard becomes a target dummy for a mystery sniper in the middle of bloody nowhere. Teaming up with the young woman who stole his wallet and watch after screwing him, the two have to run fast and dodge incoming fire in a fight for their lives, when neither of them even knows why they're having to fight in the first place. Maybe man isn't the most dangerous animal to hunt after all.
Is it good movie?
Again and again, European horror filmmakers continue to kick my sorry ass. Not every movie is a gem, and some are even damn near terrible. But a large majority of them are original, well shot and tensely plotted films that put North American horror to shame. Hey, there's one simple reason most of these flicks are getting remade by no-talent Americans even before the originals get released over here: they are damn fine horror movies!

With that said for the millionth time, King of the Hill is a taught garrote around the neck when it comes to pacing, action and shear heinous f*ckery. Now, first off, when you have a random bang with a stranger in a scummy gas station bathroom, expect to at the very least get your wallet stolen, if you don't get your throat cut post-coitus! While Leonardo Sbaraglia's main dude displays more acts of horror movie dumbness, he's a pretty good lead, and he carries the quick and punishing pace of the movie with style and a refreshing lack of whining. But he is seriously upstaged by megahottie María Valverde, who dominates every shot she's in. She's a likable gal, and that keeps a simple arse like me interested in the goings on. Especially with the hellish paces that these two are put through. I love movies where people are hunted by mysterious crazy f*ckers, and like most movies like it, this one also suffers a dip in the tension when the hunters are revealed. The major twist in the movie (Spoiler: They are being hunted by two kids with rifles), despite being an overused gimmick as of late, is actually what keeps the flick fresh once the reveal happens. And the climax, well, I so wanted to see that. Let's just say I was not disappointed.

This is a good looking film, and the stark, bleak wooded landscape reminded me of some of the lesser visited rural areas of Europe, where small towns and villages still bore the scars of WWII and centuries of hard living. The washed out and muted visuals were awesome, and complimented the hopelessness of the story. The gunplay was pretty sweet (I'm a sucker for snipers, even if they are punk kids), and on the whole the action was pretty satisfying. My only beefs were the use of some over used twists, and the fact that some of the moves this critter made were a tad bit predictable. If that annoys you to no end, or if this ends up not being up your alley, then at least you have the lovely Miss Valverde to keep your brain occupied. For the rest of this, this is a killer original film (yes, they still exist) that is well worth your time. Sure, it's not as brutal or brilliant as [REC] or Let The Right One In, but it's a damn fine way to spend an evening. Good Job!
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen - 1.68:1. The movie is simply gorgeous. Think a dirtier version of New Zealand and you're close.

Audio: Spanish and English (Dolby Digital 5.1) and subtitles in English and Spanish.
The Extras
None here. Dimension Extreme isn't really showing these small foreign genre films much love, now are they?
Last Call
Tight, tense and not a little bit brutal, the Spanish long shot gives a one-two-three punch in the plot department, and despite the comparisons to other movies of its ilk, it's an original and gripping thriller that is far and above the usual Dimension Extreme fare. The leads are likable and care worthy, and the twists that the tale takes are nicely handled indeed. I was all over the bleak and hopeless look of the film, and López-Gallego's minimalist style suited the storytelling nicely. Despite a few derivative elements and the use of a twist that is becoming a little too common now (one more movie about killer kids and I'm calling foul!), the good here shined through and the result: A kick ass movie that proves once again that for real genre goodness, Europe is the place to be!
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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