Holla (DVD)

Cover art:


Holla DVD(click for larger image)Starring Shelli Boone, Charles Porter and Young Sir

Directed by H.M. Coakley

Distributed by Lionsgate

What do you do when you’re being chased around a remote cabin in the woods by a maniac? Holla and haul ass! Don’t try to figure out who the killer is; the plot is too congested with possible suspects to make sense! Just run around and forget about brandishing a weapon for protection!

That’s about the extent of Holla, the latest direct-to-video release from Lionsgate. By now, if you’ve read these Lionsgate reviews in the past, you should know the type of quality these films hold. The plot is about a TV starlet who decides to vacation in the woods with her boyfriend and buds. Along the way she is followed by her greedy agent and another character of questionable morals. Soon after they arrive at the cabin, all hell breaks loose as bodies start to pile up and everyone starts to holla. But is it worth the wait to find out who the killer really is?

According to director Coakley on the disc’s commentary track, this movie is about how African-Americans would realistically react if stuck in a horror movie situation. That’s not all, though, because we are also informed that Holla is supposed to be a spoof and an homage to classic slasher pics. There lies the ultimate tragedy of Holla; it has all been done before and on a much bigger budget.

Holla  review (click to see it bigger)Holla is basically a cheap version of Scream with a little Friday the 13th built in, and it is coming out at a time when the formulas have been copied a million times. They’re not exactly breaking ground with a typical paint-by-numbers slasher with the ethnic roles reversed. Everyone’s cool and likable exccept the two white characters. We know right off the bat who is going to live, and it has the old outta nowhere third act plot twist/revelation.

So what is redeeming about this? What could make someone see this and think, “Should I rent a Hollywood picture, or should I take a chance with another indie flick from Lionsgate? Hmmm.” How about curiosity? Apparently this movie wasn’t made for a white audience. Holla was tailor made for the African-American community and contains aspects of their culture that some people may not know about or understand(!). You know. Us non-ethnic folk need films like this to use as a guideline. Someone. Shoot me now. Whatever. No matter how you slice it, this is still a boring low-budget rip-off of many other classic horror films.

Oh, did I say rip-off … I meant homage. Yeah, totally different things. In any case, if horror fans want to see things that look like Halloween, Scream and The Shining, they’ll go out and rent those movies. Holla brings nothing new or exciting to the table visually or in its story, regardless of your heritage. The direct-to-video release has lots of bad camera work, badly framed shots, out of focus scenes, goreless kills, no nudity, and tons of unexplained plot points. Do you really want to go on a wild goose chase and wade through all that garbage to get to the end? No thanks. Scary Movie is looking pretty good right now in comparison.

Holla  review (click to see it bigger)To wrap this up, we’ll look at the special features that accompany Holla. The commentary track with director H.M. Coakley, writer Camille Irons and actress Shelli Boone is an informative one. The crew admit to many of the problems the film has, and blame is put mainly on the low budget. Errors are pointed out, and the audience should walk away with a healthy amount of background on the project–that is, if they actually want to sit through Holla a second time. Any takers?! The “making-of” is more of the same. Informative but ultimately boring if one cannot find anything to like about the film itself.

There you have it. Another poorly produced film that Lionsgate has slapped a fancy cover on and sent out to the masses. Take care. Beware. Or, for our ethnic readers… Don’t go there, son!

Special Features

  • Commentary
  • Making-of featurette


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    Mike Phalin

    Mike Phalin is a contributing writer, reality television star and engineer.