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The Independent Critic

John Barrymore, Calista Carradine,  Ely LaMay, Veronica Levary, Stephanie Gerard and James Bartholet.
James L. Bills
NR (Equiv. to "R")
85 Mins.
GreenApple Entertainment

 "Hitchhiker Massacre" a Retro-Styled 80's Slasher Flick in 2016 

If we're being honest, the claim to fame for Hitchhiker Massacre, a retro-styled horror/slasher flick written and directed by James L. Bills and due to be released by Florida-based distributor GreenApple Entertainment on July 4th, is that it happens to have the names Barrymore and Carradine attached to it.

In this case, it's John Barrymore, Drew's brother, and Calista Carradine, David's daughter, who are part of the ensemble cast for a film that is, for the most part, a rather straightforward slasher flick more interested in hardcore kills than interesting chills and contains a story in the slightest sense of what that actually means. In the film, Sally (Ely LaMay) decides to make her way back home by hitchhiking along a desert highway. Not so coincidentally, young hitchhikers are being slaughtered by a cannibalistic madman. While things seem to be going smoothly for Sally, her fate changes when she's picked up by the killer - can she survive the night or is she destined to experience the fate of the others?

Hitchhiker Massacre is a dim and grim slasher flick that on some level succeeds in what I think Bills is trying to accomplish with the film, though my gut tells me that hardcore gorehounds will find the film a tad disappointing as the film often suggests more violence than it actually creates. That's not to say it's timid - it's definitely not. It's hardcore. It's gruesome and it's a tad bit twisted, but it is likely a little bit hindered by its low budget with just how gory it can actually get.

The film benefits from its cast including the incredibly beautiful Ely LaMay, whose performance as Sally builds in just enough vulnerability that when her fate starts to change you actually care about it. While it may seem like stunt casting, both John Barrymore and Calista Carradine redeem themselves quite nicely in relatively limited roles. Katherine Cronyn, as Pepper, is also solid along with Allen Perada as Sheriff Marks. Rocky Christopher is also memorable as Tom.

Hitchhiker Massacre isn't a brilliant flick but, if we're being honest, what 80's slasher flick was brilliant? Oh sure, there were a handful of really awesome ones but for the most part these were flicks that you watched for the kills, the thrills & the T&A. While one might wish that Hitchhiker Massacre had amped things up a notch or two, it's a squirm-inducing film that should please most fans of indie horror.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic