Movie Review: Downhill
Director: Patricio Valladares
Writer: Barry Keating & Patricio Valladares
Stars: Natalie Burn, Ignacia Allamand, Ariel Levy, Bryce Draper
Downhill mixes mountain bike riding, a horrible virus and a group of men that are determined to keep that what happens in the mountains, stays in the mountains.
After Joe (Draper) witnesses his friend die in a mountain biking accident he retires, Joe is coaxed out of retirement to ride in an exhibition race in Chile. On a practice ride Joe and his girlfriend Stephanie (Burn) and friends Pablo (Levy) and Magdalena (Allamand) come across a stranger that doesn't look to good and before they can assess the situation they are fired upon by a group of armed men. From here the film changes direction a few times, so you are never really that certain of what is going to happen.
Burn and Draper have to do the bulk of the work in the film and they do a good job. The film wouldn't work as well if they didn't sell their relationship and the chemistry between these two really helps. Everyone else does well, the leader of the hunting party does well to convey the appropriate menace despite being a one note cardboard cut out character.
Valladares uses various techniques to keep the film fresh (e.g Go-Pro footage) and manages to produce some very stylish looking shots. Using the mountainous outdoor setting to good effect, Valladares is able to create a feeling of closing in walls despite the vast spaces.
The effects show up the films budget a little, with some inventive if not totally convincing CGI but the film rises above its own limitation to produce a fun flick that throws everything it has at the screen. The shifting styles of horror throughout make it difficult to access but the film always manages to entertain. Downhill is a fun film that will keep you on your toes, the directional changes will ultimately make or break the film for you but if you are prepared to just let the film tell the story you should have some fun with this.