If there’s anything as rare as a gay horror film, it’s an urban horror film. Blacula. Tales from the Hood. Bones. Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror. Killjoy. Black Devil Doll. And 2006’s HOLLA. Not expecting much from yet another low-budget slasher, man was I surprised! Traveling familiar territory, an attractive group of friends heads to a house at a camp for a weekend of fun—and ends up with a weapon-wielding party crasher.
Holla opens in first-kill Scream fashion. I could immediately tell director H.M. Coakley knows a thing or two about how to make a simple slasher right: camera angles, natural darkness, and suspense. When I saw the exaggerated African-American mask I was like, “Oh man. The killer is some white racist asshole.” Was I right? I’m not telling.
The killer ends up in a mental institution…and then escapes.
In the meantime, our main chick is an actress, so her white agent, played by hottie Michael Bergin of Baywatch, tags along with his lady. The couples split up and we get to see some cuties in tank tops or shirtless, but that’s it. No nudity!
So why not throw in a shot of Michael Bergin naked?
This slasher plays out with some creative nuances that give it some originality. For instance, when all the couples are in their rooms, the screen suddenly splits into four quadrants, there’s a scream, and we get to see all the couples reacting to it at the same time. NICE.
When the killing starts, smart and funny black humor ensues. These friends make sure not to do any of the stupid shit that white kids do in horror movies. They won’t go investigate sounds. When they know there’s a killer in the house, they all bolt for the door as a group. They travel together and won’t split up. It’s a really unique and REALISTIC approach. It also makes it challenging to get anyone killed. But when the director pulls off the first victim isolation, it brilliantly works as a creepy moment. There are several inventive and unique techniques used as the action continues.
Holla begins intense and fast-paced then takes a breather to let us get to know the characters better while keeping us guessing who the killer is. Some nice twists are introduced, as well as a few good chase scenes, and then the film waters down into a typical Scream ending. The first half is most definitely stronger. Can’t wait for the sequel.