King Of The Hill (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner11/02/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Engaging, well made horror that gets a decent amount of tension out of its simple premise, even if it's not quite as shocking and provocative as it thinks it is.

What's it all about?
Not to be confused with either the animated TV series or Steven Soderbergh's little-seen (and rather good) 1993 coming-of-age film, King of the Hill (El Rey de la Montana) is a Spanish horror film directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego. Leonardo Sbaraglia stars as the unfortunately-named Quim who ends up having a random shag in a gas station bathroom whilst driving to a potential reconciliation with his girlfriend.

Quim soon discovers that the girl at the gas station (Maria Valverde as Bea) stole his wallet and lighter, so he gives chase, only to encounter Bea and her broken down car on the edge of a heavily wooded area in the middle of nowhere. However, things quickly go from bad to worse and the pair find themselves stalked by unseen snipers, forcing them to run for their lives.

The Good
Lopez-Gallego takes a relatively simple premise and squeezes it for all it's worth, generating a decent amount of tension and suspense in the process. This is heightened considerably by the fact that the snipers remain unseen for at least two thirds of the film.

The performances are excellent: Sbaraglia does well to retain our sympathies, even though Quim is a largely unpleasant character and a coward to boot (the film does a good job of making you ask yourself what you'd do in the same situation). Similarly, Valverde is superb as Bea, whose flighty and unpredictable character ensures that you never quite trust her.

The Bad
The main problem is that the film's key twist (which probably was shocking when the film was made, two years ago) now looks like the latest addition to a current horror trend, rather than being as provocative and edgy as it obviously thinks it is.

Worth seeing?
King of the Hill is an engaging, well made and frequently suspenseful thriller with strong performances and a simple but effective premise. Worth seeing.

King Of The Hill has been reviewed by 1 users
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