Not dissimilar from something like the terrible Live Feed, another sadistic, low-grade rip-off of Hostel and the Saw flicks, Hollywood Kills is an unartful, improbably plotted and dismally executed direct-to-DVD slasher programmer which mainly serves as quiet, leave-it-off-your-reel paycheck experience for all those involved, especially some special effects and gore peddlers.
Back-slapping Texas cousins James (Happy Mahaney) and Vaughn (Matthew Scollon) hit Los Angeles, ostensibly to visit Sarah (Angela DiMarco), the former’s sister. Especially Vaughn, though, has sex on his mind. So when Sarah’s leggy, would-be actress roommate Chantelle (Gillian Shure) appears, he’s dutifully smitten. After heading out for a night on the town, the four attractive young loafers cross paths with two Hollywood players (Zack Ward, Todd Duffy) who promise them entrance into a secret “power club.” Foolishly believing their dreams of stardom only a couple cocktails away, the quartet are in for a rude awakening when the club’s director, washed-up, quietly deranged movie producer Francis Fenway (Dominic Keating), casts them in his next brutal reality horror production.
Shot on digital video, Hollywood Kills doesn’t evidence much in the way of production value, but director Sven Pape is also far too eager to prove his directorial chops, indulging in frame-manipulation and an overload of other stylistic gimmicks in an effort to paper over the incongruities and implausibilities of Nicholas David Brandt’s screenplay. Some of the script’s pre-bloodletting banter is convincingly loose-limbed, and emblematic of geographical/cultural divides that a more self-assured movie would have tried to plumb a bit more for pre-slaying tension (“You want limes?” Sarah asks, grabbing a couple beers. “For what?” James responds, confused). But Hollywood Kills is all about the stalking and slashing, which means Jigsaw-type murders (a phone that shoots a nail from its receiver into the ear of the person who answers) and a pair of Japanese twins dressed up as schoolgirls, wandering around and filming the action. It’s never convincingly explained how and why someone like Fenway would turn to such extreme measures, the acting is completely scattershot (DiMarco and a smirking Ward more or less escape with some modicum of dignity, Shure does not) and the delivery of gore not really that compelling or interesting.
Presumably commercially packaged in a regular Amray case, Hollywood Kills is presented in16x9 widescreen, with a Dolby digital stereo audio track. Though not on the clam-shell-housed review copy with which we were serviced, the final release supposedly includes the movie’s trailer, EPK interviews, a photo gallery, a (CD-ROM?) copy of the script and close-captioned subtitles. For more information, click here. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, meanwhile, click here. D- (Movie) C- (Disc, speculatively)