There is an appeal to watching those original grindhouse flicks from the 1970s. A certain feeling was captured in those films that came out as a necessity of the time, back when filmmakers had to make due with what they had. Is this something that can be recreated? Tony Wash made an attempt to make a modern version of this genre of film with High On The Hog (2019). But did it work?
High on the Hog was directed by Tony Wash (The Rake 2018) and co-written by Wash, Andy Golub (Eyes Upon Waking), Kevin C. Lockhart (Gags 2018 – read our review here) and Jeremy Silva (Watermelon Eyes 2015). It stars Sid Haig (Spider Baby, Or The Maddest Story Ever Told 1967 – read our retro review here, House of 1000 Corpses 2003), Joe Estevez (Soul Taker 1990, Syndicate Smasher 2017 – read our review here), Fiona Domenica (Gags 2018, Dead Silent 2017), Brenda Whitehead (Hay Days 2014), Siarra T. Mong (Lemon Drop 2018), and Ellie Church (Harvest Lake 2016, Amazon Hot Box 2018 – read our review here).
There is a potent strain of weed hitting the streets with deadly outcomes. This wild weed generates an investigation by the DEA that grabs the attention of two agents on a hunt to find the source. Leading one agent deep undercover, infiltrating a small town weed farming operation.
Let’s start with what is wrong with the film. As already noted, this movie is an attempt at recreating the feel of those original grindhouse films. With High on the Hog, that tone was added during the editing process by throwing in film grain, burning and off-track film frames, color bars, scenes missing frames, and so on. This makes sense with the type of movie that was trying to be created, but unfortunately, these edits were overdone in almost every shot. It is quite annoying, to be honest, and really took away from the flow of the film.
Then, there is the acting. Oh, the acting! It really seemed like most of the cast of this movie was just pulled off the street and told to act. It was painful and cringeworthy.
There were a few redeeming aspects of High On The Hog. Not all of of the performances were horrible. Sid Haig has over 50 years of experience as an actor, and he delivers what we have come to expect from this seasoned professional. He gives a great performance as the patriarch of the family, Big Daddy. Fiona Domenica’s role as the matriarch is definitely worth mentioning as well. She holds her own on screen next to the legendary Sid Haig. Finally, there are the smooth lines delivered by the always beautiful Ellie Church as the DJ.
This was a film that I had looked forward to watching, but it really fell short. I truly wanted to like it, but in the end the final product was not a pleasing cinematic experience. Check it out for yourself and let me know your thoughts!