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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Thrillbillys

The Thrillbillys


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Film: C-



There was a cycle of outlaw chase films set in the American South in the early 1970s that culminated into the single franchise Smokie & The Bandit (1978) before peaking in the early 1980s.  No one has tried to really revive this kind of film and the film version of Dukes Of Hazzard coming up will not change that.  When I saw that a writer/director named Jim Stramel decided to do a film called The Thrillbillys (2004) and claimed it was outright trash with escaped criminals, curiosity naturally followed.  Too bad a solid feature film did not.


The 75 minutes long film is actually even shot on film by cinematographer Don Drakulich and has a good look to it, but the screenplay is a wreck and the film is just too sloppy and bored with itself.  Obscenity is not realism and there is really no story or anything we have not seen before, making this an amazingly lost opportunity to do something truly independent and surprising.  I can add that it is not too comical, but that is all the more reason it disappoints.


The letterboxed 1.85 X 1 image is not bad and edited as well as it was shot.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sounds like a recent recording and everything can be heard clearly enough.  Extras include a trailer, a few outtakes, text thank-yous and an audio commentary by Stramel and star George Archer Jr. that is often more interesting than what is happening.  Maybe next time they’ll come up with something better.  I will be curious then too.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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