Horror Releases: An Hour to Kill (2018) - Reviewed

I miss horror anthologies of the '80s. The comic book value of gritty, creepy tales from different spectrums of the thrill-o-meter culminating in one bumper crop of creeps, encompassed by one backstory that runs throughout. 

An Hour to Kill, co-written and directed by Aaron K. Carter (Dead Kansas, 2013), claims to be a grindhouse feature in the aforementioned vein of anthologies. However, it feels as if the term ‘grindhouse’ is employed here as an excuse, in case the movie is bad, rather than an actual presentation of ultra-violence, gratuitous sex and frights. None of the latter is present in this so-called grindhouse feature, although it is delightfully tongue-in-cheek and funny.

The premise is pretty obvious: Frankie (Frankie Pozos) and Gio(Aaron Guerrero) are two assassins, who have an hour to kill (so to speak) before their next hit. In order to curb the boredom, the two take turns sharing horror stories with one another. The following three shorts make up the guts of this low-budget mud fight that is so bad that it is good. Well, kind of.

The titles of the stories are indeed bizarre, and although they differ in subject matter, each has its own flavor.

First up is Valkyrie’s Bunker, where a group of teenage girls go exploring – you guessed it – a reputed Nazi bunker, said to be the hiding place of a lost son of an SS commander. It sounds terrifying, but the lack in atmospheric lighting and bad score completely foils what could have been a fearful tale. Although the camera angle optimizes the girls’ obligatory ass-shots, it fails to titillate. If this is grindhouse, it has a PG rating.

Next is Assacre, which appears to tell the story of an eating contest champion who ends up at the wrong side of some jealous contenders. A pointless mess of misplaced humor, this story is lost to the viewer, but it seems to pride itself on the hilarious bathtub scene that features some decent bleeding. Other than that, the bad acting and shaky camera comes across more as a high school video club submission than an independent film. What wins for this one, is the amusing dialogue that is actually really funny.

Our reward for sitting through the first two stories is the last tale, Hog Hunters. This one makes you wish you could watch the others twice. A cheesy rip-off of Deliverance (without the suspense, dread or style), it tells the story of a group of bowling friends who accidentally mistakes a night of hog hunting for a trap by some ‘rogering’ hillbillies with more in common than eating bacon. Again, the sketch comes across as a drunk joke on a bad budget, but still it feels endearing.

The Mafia gangster wrap-around story does not fit in with the horror subject of the contents, but for some reason, An Hour to Kill is oddly likeable. The acting is not completely unbearable and the plot paces along well, regardless of its aimless nature, to culminate in an entertaining mess of fun and juvenile madness. If the intent of this film was not to take itself seriously, it passed with flying colors, but if you seek horror in the manner of fear or suspense, maybe you should find another way to kill an hour (and then some).

--Tasha Danzig