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Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8)
IMDB Rating: 5.4/10 from votes
Release: 10 November 2013 (USA) /

Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8)

Genre: Comedy, Horror
Director: Ron Bonk,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Segments from eight of the leading indie horror filmmakers including Tim Ritter, Brad Sykes, Donald Farmer, Todd Sheets, Chris Seaver, Ron Bonk, and Marcus Koch. Each director was challenged to go back to their roots, using analog equipment while tapping into their years of experience to tell a story that is fresh and edgy. Shot all over the USA, the result is a collection of tales that has something to horrify everyone. Written by Brad Sykes

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Critic Reviews

A love-letter to the shot-on-video horror scene of the late 80s/early 90s, Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8) sees several pioneers of home-made horror teaming up with some of their modern-day counterparts to bring us a diverse anthology shot entirely on lo-fi, pre-HD formats; as such, it's similar in vein to recent horror talent showcases V/H/S and The ABCs of Death— only filmed on a much tighter budget. Although this lack of cash is evident throughout, a wealth of imagination and creativity ensures that this collection of the macabre, while varyingly wildly in quality and style, still manages to be a fair amount of fun as a whole, the enthusiasm and energy of the film-makers shining through each and every frame.

As is customary with such films, Hi-8 opens with a wraparound story (the appropriately named 'No Budget Films presents…'), which sees a pair of young film-makers, Travis (Paul K.) and Brett (Baker Chase), shooting their own horror video starring hottie Andrea (Danielle Nicole Rosario, looking fine in Lycra running gear); this is interspersed by eight gruesome 'shorts', each shot by a different director…

In 'Switchblade Insane', directed by Tim Ritter (Killing Spree), a loving housewife discovers her husband's dirty little secret and decides to join in with the fun. But is everything as it really seems? This sleazy, gory tale quickly sets the demented tone for the whole project, offering up plenty of blood, some gratuitous nudity, and a delightfully deviant twist.

'A Very Bad Situation', by Marcus Koch (100 Tears), sees a shower of meteorites falling to Earth, turning people into hideous creatures. A claustrophobic, paranoia-laced tale with decent performances and topped off with a wonderfully yucky transformation scene, this is one of my favourites of the whole bunch.

'The Tape', the directorial debut of visual effects artist Tony Masiello, has VHS collector Tim (Travis Hoecker) uncover a rare SOV horror obscurity entitled 'Bloodgasm'; becoming obsessed by the gory, no-budget tape, he and his girlfriend set out to meet the maker of the splattery flick, but get more than they bargain for. I enjoyed this one for the gruesome, snuff-style, giblet-fondling effects seen in 'Bloodgasm', but the ending of the story isn't as strong as I would have liked.

'Gang Them Style', directed by Ron Bonk (City of the Vampires), is a tongue-in-cheek homage to numerous cult movies that sees Snake Plissken-wannabe RJ "Mongoose" MacReady (Wes Reid) attempting to save his grandmother and her OAP pals during a zombie outbreak. With lots of references to classic horrors and plenty of gut-munching, this is very silly and lots of fun.

'Genre Bending' by Chris Seaver (Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker!, Terror at Blood Fart Lake) is definitely the strangest segment, a 'WTF?' tale of stalking and rape-reversal that defies adequate description. Worth watching for the leering weirdo who simply wants to know the time.

In 'The Request', by Todd Sheets (the Zombie Bloodbath trilogy), all-night DJ Magic Matt West (Brad Westmar) receives strange phone calls, apparently from his dead lover Lillian. Is it simply a cruel prank, or does Lillian really have a special request for her ex? With a solid central performance from Westmar, and oodles of atmosphere, this one looks set to be one of the best, but is let down somewhat by its rushed Creepshow-style/EC-inspired ending.

'Thicker Than Water', from Donald Farmer (Cannibal Hookers), sees Ted (Mike Malloy) finding out just how insanely insecure his current partner Emily (Alaine Huntington) is when she reveals that she has his ex-girlfriend Lauren (Vanessa Nocera) tied to a chair in the garage. It's a rather routine tale of torture that benefits from a strong psychotic turn by Huntington.

The last tale is 'The Scout', helmed by Brad Sykes (who also directs the wraparound story), which stars Mark Sadr and Alexis Codding as low-budget film-maker Adrian and aspiring actress Madison, who break down in the desert while scouting for locations. After an argument, Madison storms off, but returns later to find Adrian missing. Finding his video camera, she watches the recording, with shocking results. This tale lacks logic, but with Codding looking great in a tight vest and shorts, who cares?

A mixed bunch, to be sure, but there's more than enough enjoyment to be had for those who, like me, are suckers for independent horror and horror anthologies in general.

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