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The Hillside Strangler
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The Hillside Strangler (2004)

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Plot Summary:

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 06 January 2005 My Rating: out of 5


It seems to me that with each ensuing 'based on a true story' serial killer thriller released, we as an audience are becoming desensitised to the seriousness of the real life stories.

The Hillside Strangler has been rush released to DVD amid a flurry of great reviews, but I am sorry to say that what could have been a very dark and powerful film, was dull and laughable.

There is no denying that Nicholas Turturro is convincing in his role of Angelo Buono, as he comes across as a disgustingly vile sick animal. C. Thomas Howell unfortunately comes across as a stammering mamas boy who sprays his shorts at the site of a pretty woman. Convincing and true to life that may be, but it got old quickly.

The film is nothing special aesthetically, and the rest of the cast were what one has come to expect in this sub genre, annoying and stupid. It offends me that women are portrayed as paper thin idiot girls, such as the two girls who were being forced to be hookers who just went along with it even though they didn't want to. Get real, most women would put up a damn good fight, and die trying rather than allow themselves to be violated.

The story is boring, as we are introduced to victim after victim in short sequences that are strung together by scenes with laughable dialogue such as the moment when confronted over his apparent frequent masturbation, C. Thomas Howell responds 'It's just some turkey gravy honey'.

I was sickened that this film made light of the fact that a couple of whackos raped, tortured and brutalised a number of women, but the worst aspect is that this film has no strong message.

Why did they make it? It certainly didn't shed any light on the real life case. I got the sense that this was made to cash in on the success of the previous serial killer films made by the same production team, and they just plucked the next most famous killers out of a book and threw in some T&A and vile dialogue.

Disgustingly vile, but for all the wrong reasons.

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