It’s not “Spartacus”, but at least “Hell’s Highway” gives you what you’re lookin’ for. If you find yourself taking this one up to the check out counter at your local video slinger, then you’re no doubt looking for some prime gore and T & A. I mean, the video box has a girl in daisy dukes holding a chainsaw and the name Ron Jeremy is prominently featured. If some blood and booty isn’t what you’re expecting, then you’ve got some problems. Cool thing is, that the “Hell’s Highway” delivers on both fronts. The rest of the movie isn’t bad either.
We hit the road with Chris and his three college friends, traveling through the desert to meet his brother in Redondo Beach to do a little partying down. Mid-trip, they come across an attractive girl hitch-hiking at the side of the road. The kids decide to pick up the girl and soon find that they should’ve checked their “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” Handbook for what happens when you pick up a hitcher out in the middle of nowhere. The girl, claiming that her name is Lucinda, goes bananas, saying that she killed Chris’ brother just a little while ago and that now it’s their turn. She pulls out a gun and commences fondling one of the college girls’ unmentionables. A struggle occurs and Lucinda is pushed out of the moving car. Thinking that they’ve seen the last of this crazy bitch, the college friends continue on their way, but now Chris is concerned for his brother’s well being…as well he should be. They wind up finding his video camera and cel phone lying out in the middle of the desert. Now, I don’t know about you, but these are sure signs of foul play. But of course, this doesn’t prove anything to these kids. I mean, Chris’ brother could’ve just decided to take a little stroll through the desert and happened to leave his phone and camera sitting on a rock, right? Sure thing. So, the kids continue their trek for Redondo to make sure that everything is all right when Lucinda pops up again…and again…and again. She’s a persistent girl. Not even getting run over by a car and getting torn in half can keep her from popping up elsewhere, unharmed. And so the movie continues in this fashion until the whole thing wraps up in a pretty cool little twist ending.
Actually, there’s quite a few little ingenuities in “Hell’s Highway” that aren’t usually found in shot-on-video fare. It’s not the best film in the world, but there definitely seems like there was a brain, maybe even a couple of them, working behind the scenes. Especially considering that keeping an 80 minute film spent almost entirely on a desert road at least mildly entertaining is damn difficult. And it is entertaining. Cool little twists and revelations keep “Hell’s Highway” chugging forward. The acting’s not even half bad. I was shocked. Most of the players were quite good and didn’t irritate me in the slightest. I actually kinda liked these kids. Anybody barreling through the desert drinking Mickey’s malt liquor is okay by me. Also, Ron Jeremy’s part is small, but fans of his should get a kick out of it.
And yes, as mentioned before, there are boobies and splatter to ogle. Most of the gore is actually executed quite effectively. Once again, separating it from the rest of the shot-on-video pack.
It’s apparent that a lot of thought and love for the genre went into the making of “Hell’s Highway”. If he keeps it up, I could see Jeff Leroy pulling off something of higher caliber further on down the road.