The best way to describe Red Hill would be an Australian Western that is very reminiscent of the Simon Pegg cop comedy Hot Fuzz in terms of the plot (if you haven’t seen it, do so). Indeed, it fits the Western mould (horses riding into town, dispensing sweet frontier justice and all that) so perfectly that I only realised it was set in Australia 20 minutes into the movie and the choice to set it there works well as it really convinces that it could be another American Western.
The plot of the film is that a young cop transfers away from the big city in search of a quieter life for him and his pregnant wife. His first day on the job, a dangerous convict breaks out of prison and heads straight for the town to kill the men who put him there. Those who are thinking they probably know what’s coming are most likely right (the twist isn’t much of one and is kind of obvious if you’ve seen movies with similar ones). Having said that, it’s not bad though.
There are some laughable aspects to the film; for example, the guy who fires six bullets from his gun at the convict when he’s standing face to face with him and misses as well as the fact that the hero’s origin story appears to be ripped off, at least in part, from Blazing Saddles. The special effects with the gunshots are also quite bad, looking more like they’ve hit the other guy with dirt than actually shot him (supporting this is the fact that on several victims, there appear to be no bullet holes). This might explain why so many of the killer’s victims survive the first shot.
One thing I was surprised at was that the only person I recognised in it was the man who played Barlow (he played David Bishop on the Australian guilty pleasure soap Neighbours). The leading man is Ryan Kwanten from True Blood, who plays the rookie cop well here.
The DVD release itself is your basic vanilla edition, with absolutely no special features to speak of whatsoever (apart from some previews which aren’t worth watching anyway).
The killer brings some horror movie elements to the western theme (such as the practical invulnerability and his ability to surprise the viewer), and the mix works well. I’d certainly recommend this as an entertaining way to pass 90 minutes, although I’d wait until it gets cheaper, to be honest with you.
The DVD and Blu-Ray both come out on January 25th.