An Hour to Kill Review (2018)

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

An Hour to Kill Review (2018)

Horrorific content by penguin_pete on September 03rd, 2018 | Movie Review | Comedy, Killer, Serial Killer

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It’s about two hired guns in Hollywood swapping creepy stories while waiting for their next hit.

An Hour To Kill was directed by Aaron K. Carter and stars Mel Novak (from Force of Darkness), Frankie Pozos and Aaron Guerrero.

Before they make the hit, these gangsters shoot the sh!t

An Hour to Kill Review

Welcome to our latest new feature: “Indie Beat,” where we unearth a newly released film from the indie and festival world and give you a first taste of it - before you even knew it existed! As Forest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolate-covered decapitated heads - you never know what you’re gonna get.”

Today we’re going to spend time with An Hour to Kill.

Well... where to begin? The Present Author will go against better judgment and set the reader up for expectations by invoking a couple of names. Don’t take this the wrong way, but imagine if Quentin Tarantino worked for Troma Productions. No, don’t get your hopes up; Tarantino’s got his trademark pizazz, and even Troma has higher production values. Nevertheless, you can definitely see some influence from both. Tarantino: Look, two mobsters in suits toting guns around L.A. while they bicker, ah, here’s the trunk P.O.V. shot, and stripper club dance, check. Troma: “Hog hunting” comes with its own song, and remind me never to eat a sketchy-looking pepper I bought in an alley. And amazingly enough, this kinda works, by way of the express train for weirdsville.

Fast plot:

Frankie and Gio are two hit men (that means “hired killers” for you kids who haven’t read up on your noir fiction) working for mobster Mr. Kinski. Frankie and Gio are mismatched, with Gio the smooth, senior professional and Frankie the snotty, cocky kid. We’re set up for a buddie-robber movie with a twist: Mr. Kinski has just ordered a hit on Frankie, believing him to be a rat, and ordered Gio to carry out this hit on his partner. Gio begs for one hour’s mercy for his sidekick, so the two pal around L.A. for “an hour to kill,” during which time they swap stories from their underworld roots. So within this framing device, we have an anthology of three short stories...

“Valkyrie’s Bunker” - Five teenagers partying in their parents’ car decide to ghost-chase for fun at an old bunker that is rumored to be the hideout for an escaped Nazi. The weakest of the three.

“Assacre” - A competitive eating contest leads to a practical joke gone wrong when somebody is goaded into eating a legendary pepper. Scores well on the gross-out meter.

“Hog Hunters” - Three biker-ish bowlers in a league welcome a new member onto their team, and for initiation they head out to pork some fat women, heading for a retreat far in the woods after a tip from the bartender. Best of the three for the sheer “WTF?” factor.

Actually, there’s several more mini-stories shuffled into the narrative besides. Not all of it is “solid gold” (write this phrase down for viewing notes later), but at least the pace is breezy enough to keep you watching.

How's it play?

An Hour To Kill is one of those movies where the budget is obviously low, but you can see where they made every penny count. This is all I ask: I will forgive poverty productions, as long as you make “imagination costs nothing” your battle-cry. This film uses its imagination well, has some unusual wrinkles and interesting premises, and what the heck, even a couple of laugh-out-loud moments.

A few areas where this film shines: Locations, sets, costumes, and characters. It’s been many decades since I left Hollyweird for the cornfields and snow of the Midwest (and still no regrets!), but I don’t quite recall having such an eclectic cast of oddballs running around there so casually - perhaps my memory is stanched. The production of An Hour To Kill leaves no cast member forgettable. Other horror movies are content to assemble a mishmosh of identical cannon fodder, but this movie makes even small roles have their own unique personality. A girl in an eating contest with all of three lines could have been any random Jane, but you made her an ears-wearing, role-playing cat-woman, and for that we salute you! As for locations, we get everything from cool bars and stylish L.A. abodes to gritty graffiti palaces and hillbilly hovels.

The only thing holding this movie back is its uneven pulse, which is actually typical of horror anthologies. The script is all over the place, with some cringe-worthy cliches mixed with witty lines. The acting, eh, could stand to be better, but a few cast members find it worth their while to ham it up. For a budget production, it reminded me most of Murder Party, in being a movie that tries its hardest with what little it has and ends up winning you over with schlocky charm.

An Hour To Kill is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

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