Monday, December 31, 2012

Release The Hounds of Terror: A Movie Review

*full disclosure: an online screening of this film was provided by Midnight Releasing.

Directors: Maurizio del Piccolo, Roberto del Piccolo, and Trevor Gittings.

Writer: Roberto del Piccolo.

Cast: Andy Callaghan, John Doughty, David Drew, Alice Knapton, Nasif Malik, Maddie Moate, Danny Shayler, Paul Tonkin, and Vicky Vatchers.

Tagline: "Survival depends on the right choice."

The Hounds is an indie co-production. This title is both British and Italian, with the film shot in the United Kingdom. The Hounds deals with criminal activity and the cliched camping-trip-gone-wrong scenario. However, Roberto del Piccolo's writing style keeps much of the film's premise in mystery, while the trio of directors keeps everything visually interesting. The Hounds is a competently shot film that will satisfy most indie horror fans.

The film begins with two stories. The main story involves three friends, Sarah (Maddie Moate), Jake (David Drew) and David (Paul Tonkin), on a road trip. They head out for the local woods to relive their college days. They end up finding a body, rather than the usual roasted marshmallows and frankfurters on a stick. The second story involves gangland activities and law enforcement. An alcoholic detective, Mike (Andy Callaghan) is doing his inebriated best to apprehend a criminal element, whose purpose is kept in mystery. Whiskey glasses and campers collide in the film's final frames.

Roberto del Piccolo's script will keep most viewers in suspense. Well, one viewer was perplexed by events. It is strange to see bodies unearth themselves as doppelgangers appear. This watcher stopped questioning strange events and Piccolo's late plot reveal made much of the chaos on screen worth watching. Piccolo's storytelling style also integrated two separate stories fairly fluidly. The constant back and forth between the two narratives could be jarring at times, but the pairing of two parallel stories kept the story consistently entertaining.

Meanwhile, the directors, Maurizio del Piccolo, Roberto del Piccolo, and Trevor Gittings, maintain a diverse shooting style. There are, thankfully, a few static shots to anchor events. Yet, these directors also use some shaky camera work along with Dutch angles to shake things up a bit. Events onscreen are continuously shot well and the diverse shooting style is appreciated. The night shoots were a little dark. But, the close-ups and gory subject matter onscreen make for some great shots.

Many viewers may become confused by the story's nature. Viewers should continue to watch, however. The payoff at the end of the film has been used before (and revealing the surprise here would be a disservice); yet, the film requires some patience. The ending is not explosive, but there is a good union between the two stories. Viewers are encouraged to stick with the film until the bloody end.

The Hounds is a solid indie production. This title will be released in North America January 22nd and indie horror film fans will find something of value here. The Hounds is competently shot and the film's story is delivered, initially, with smoke, mirrors and red herrings. But, the final reveal makes sense. Disturbing, and gory, The Hounds is sure to find an audience here in North America, when it arrives from across the pond in just a few weeks.

Overall: 7 out of 10 (good writing, well shot, good production values based on a small budget, the acting is decent, few settings used).

The Hounds can be found on Facebook:

The Hounds on Facebook

And at Midnight Releasing w/a trailer:

The Hounds at Midnight Releasing

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