[Movie Review] STOKER HILLS
Courtesy Screen Media
Found footage has hit a bit of hardship the last few years as the once blossoming sub-genre has slowed down without many high-profile releases. 2021 saw the streaming exclusive reboot for Paranormal Activity via Next of Kin, but the lack of any connection to the franchise left fans wanting more. A successful entry to found footage usually has a gimmick of some sort and must be marketed as to what differentiates it from other films. However, there are some films (I’m looking at you, Devil Inside) that utilize the format as an excuse to have an abrupt ending. It could be low budget or lack of a creative team to actually write an ending, but these experiences leave viewers frustrated and burnt out. I’ve been to these screenings and the audience was always vocal about the crap they just spent their time and money on. This brings us to STOKER HILLS.

STOKER HILLS attempts to not be your average found footage movie and the result is somewhere in the middle. It opens with a lecture hall covering filmmaking, with the professor being played by the Candyman himself, Tony Todd. His filmmaker students guess his favorite directors, but also verbalize their pitches for their own projects. Erica, Ryan, and Jake are the three we are going to follow as they express excitement over their zombie hookers concept which they believe will lead to a pop culture phenomenon like a certain zombie TV series. There’s very much a typical bro attitude here with an undeniable sense of privilege that even the professor gets annoyed by. While shooting their project, Erica gets abducted by a dark figure in a car and the boys chase after them. STOKER HILLS switches things up a bit by splitting the footage up with a traditional narrative format involving two detectives watching the footage we see and trying to follow their footsteps in locating the missing filmmakers.

Before you can say Cannibal Holocaust, this one doesn’t anywhere near hit the mark that Holocaust does. The 1980 Italian cult classic felt fresh as the footage came off as raw and so real that the filmmakers eventually found themselves in court as it was believed that some of the actors were actually killed. While both involve found footage viewed by onscreen characters trying to locate missing filmmakers, STOKER HILLS goes for a more campy angle. The detectives are clearly noir tropes, quite silly and comparable to Donnie Wahlberg in Dead Silence. The deliberate nature of the story arcs and cinematography showcases a movie that’s attempting to be self-aware but still takes itself too seriously to be tongue in cheek. The ending can be figured out pretty early on due to some creative choices made throughout. 

It’s questionable if STOKER HILLS will find a fanbase after the catchy title wears off. While the premise sounds fun and the small role for Tony Todd can be marketable, the movie doesn’t quite reach out enough to stand out amongst the several other options to stream. 

STOKER HILLS has ambition to admire but doesn’t hit the mark to stand out in the variety of much better-found footage movies. STOKER HILLS will be available in Theaters and On Demand on January 14, 2022.

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One thought on “[Movie Review] STOKER HILLS

  1. Stokers hill; what can I say about this little gem. Well firstly Iam kind of bewildered why Tonmy Todd would even contemplate playing part of this great feature but without him in the mix it most probably would be very bland.
    Sure there are some real jump scares in there but very predictable.
    Cinematography isnt bad, it is done quite well, a first type person on the other end of the lense shooting action, good effects ect but story line done many times over.
    Overall I was entertained yes and it filled like an hour and a half of boredom but it just left me with a blank look on my face. It really didn’t give me a wow factor and maybe because I watched the Texas chainsaw massacre before this so yea ok to watch but nothing teal good.

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