12th Jan2015

‘Hi-8: Horror Independent 8′ Review

by Nicky Johnson

Directed by Tim Ritter, Brad Sykes, Marcus Koch, Ron Bonk, Donald Farmer, Todd Sheets, Chris Seaver, Tony Masiello

hi-8-cast

This is a tough review to do for two reasons. The first is that it’s not one film, but eight. The second is that I am so far out of the target audience I would simple never have watched this or thought about watching this if I weren’t reviewing it. With that in mind, this won’t be my personal view of what this collection is, but a reflection of what it’s trying to be.

Hi-8: Horror Independent 8 is a project given to eight directors. The idea is to create a short movie using absolutely no technology from the post-Internet age, so no HD cameras, digital effects or found footage. The purpose was to try and recreate the feeling of watching an old style shot on video horror flick from the 80’s, and in that respect it really worked.

The short films themselves are a bit hit and miss; I would say about five out of the eight were worth watching. The titles given on my screener and on IMDB seem to differ from the ones on the site, so I’m just going to go the ones I know. ‘Switchblade Insane’ featured a wife who knew her husband was the switchblade rapist – a man who would rape women then kill them with a switchblade (say what you see, folks), but instead of reporting it, she followed him to find out where the trail ended. This one I found fairly well written, and not at all as bad as the quality of the filming would suggest.

Later, we had ‘Gang Them Style’, which was every bit as campy and groan worthy as the title sounds. ‘The Request’ sat us with late night DJ Magic Matt and his request show, which goes as well as most late night request shows go. Soon though, he gets a familiar sounding caller, her voice surrounded by static. Eventually he realises that is his ex-girlfriend, the girlfriend he killed, and the lights start to fail…

There’s also ‘The Tape’, which has a really messed up storyline (and I’ve watched A Serbian Film) and uses ridiculously grungy gore effects that make me want to vomit just typing about it.

I could go on like this for all eight, but I wasn’t joking; I really do feel sick. Like I said at the start, Hi-8 really isn’t my thing, but I am impressed by how this project actually came together and a cursory google shows I’m not the only one. Ultimately, it comes down to something as simple as personal preference – if you can hack super low-fi and low budget horror flicks, you’ll enjoy this. Otherwise, stay the hell away from it.

Hi-8 is out now on DVD from Wild Eye Releasing.

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