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IDILA (IDYLL, 2015)
Directed by Tomaz Gorkic
Written by Tomaz Gorkic
Starring Nina Ivanisin, Lotos Sparovec, Nika Rozman, Sebastian Cavazza, Jurij Drevensek, Manca Ogorevc, Damjana Cerne, Matic Bobnar, Damir Leventic, Ajda Smrekar, Liza Marija Grasic, Kaja Janjic, Klemen Nadler, Polona Torkar, Luka Zivec, Nada Bozic, Kristof Modic, Jana Nucic, Tomaz Pangersic
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Before jumping into the top ten Retro-Best of 2016-2017, I wanted to recognize a few films that didn’t make the list, but might have had it been a tiny bit longer. IDYLL aka KILLBILLIES is one of those films. IDYLL is the first horror movie produced and filmed in Slovenia and after viewing this one, I hope it’s not the last!
A pair of models, their manager, and a photographer go out to the countryside for a photo shoot and run afoul of a group of hillbilly cannibals who want to fondle, assault, and kill them for their blood which is distilled into a liquor called Idyll which has become highly popular in local pubs and clubs.
While the premise is quite simple and pretty much the premise of every TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and WRONG TURN movies; a bunch of people go out to the forest and run into hillbillies, IDILA follows the formula with a lot of style and class. Soaking in the Slovenian landscape makes the film immediately different than the usual backcountry environment one usually sees this type of film in. The amazing mountains and hills in the background, coupled with the ruins found overgrown with the fauna makes for a juxtaposition of the dangerous and the beautiful. In the same way, there is the same juxtaposition between the gorgeous Nina Ivanisin (who is a dead ringer for THE WOMAN’s PollyAnne McIntosh) and Nika Rozman and the deformed hill folk played by Lotos Sparovec and Jurij Drevensek (who wear makeup that looks so real, I’d swear they were actually deformed people). The performances by all are as fantastic as the scenery around them.
What separates this film from many of its ilk is that not only does this look different, but filmmaker Tomaz Gorkic has a firm grasp on how to milk a scene to its full capacity for tension. Partially due to the fine acting involved, this is a suspense filled film. But this is also due to the handling of pulse-pounding quiet moments as the models attempt to escape the monstrous madmen’s lair. This is one film that will make you occupy the edge of your seat for much of the film.
Some fantastic effects also make IDILA shine brightly. Again, it’s hard to tell if the actors are wearing makeup or not, but once the blood is shed, these moments feel chillingly real due to the complexity and subtlety of the gore shown. This is one good looking, harrowingly effective, sublimely acted, and gruelingly bloody film. IDILA or IDYLL, whatever it is called, is one international film that shouldn’t be missed as it shows once again that some of the best in horror happens outside of the American borders.