The Hills Have Eyes 2
I'm not sure that there was
really ever any reason to remake the 70s geek horror film The Hills Have
Eyes, and I'm very sure there is really no need for a sequel to the
remake. The Hills Have Eyes 2 is not, I believe, a remake of
the 1985 sequel of the same name (though I haven't seen that film, so I
can't swear to it). The fact that at this point Wes Craven has played
a part in making four Hills Have Eyes movies makes you think maybe he
should take it easy and retire on all the Scream and Nightmare on
Elm Street money he has coming in. After all, he has legacy as a
horror legend to protect. But here is the sequel to the remake, which
is apparently not a remake of the sequel — and turns out that while it's not close to
being great or even good, it is at least a little better — or maybe simply
easier to stomach — than the last go around.
The Hills Have
Eyes 2 certainly has more violent acts and
killings than the remake, yet it does not share French director Alexandre
Aja's (High Tension) horribly sadistic and
disturbing bent from The Hills Have Eyes — as best demonstrated by
the infamous scene in the last version in which a mutant holds a gun to a
baby's head to force the mother to allow him to suck her lactating breast. There was
also an extended scene of the family patriarch being burned alive while his
family is unable to do anything to help.
There are plenty of pretty
graphic moments here, but most of them are quick and do not have this kind
of cold-hearted detachment. In fact, surprisingly many of the corpses
here simply get shot or fall from great heights. (Though one murder, of a man attacked from
a cave while climbing the face of a cliff and an exceedingly ugly rape
sequence do come close to the twisted storytelling which the last one
There are also many more of
the mutants hiding in the hills killing off men and raping women who have
the bad fortune to stumble upon their home. The last film seemed to
have three or four of these mutated killers out in the desert rocks.
In fact it turns out that there is a whole little society of these people —
who have apparently been greatly scarred and changed by nuclear testing.
They live in the shadows, killing and eating unfortunate tourists and
periodically kidnapping women to breed.
Unfortunately, this film
jettisons the idea of making the victims interesting and likable
characters. At least the last one knew to do that.
After the unfortunate
family was nearly completely butchered in the last film, the Army sets up a
base to eradicate the mutants hiding in the desert.
Therefore, they send a
group of National Guardmen in to take care of things. Of course, there
is a prologue which shows the entire battalion to be a group of screw-ups
who miserably fail in a war games scenario, so you do have to wonder why the
military would send these losers in to take care of a dangerous top-secret
scourge. Also, none of the soldiers are actually warned of what they
are expected to do once they get out to the deserted area, or what kind of evil
they may experience. Therefore you have a whole
group of macho assholes (and two women) fighting each other and posturing as they get
picked off, one by one.
The real problem —
and this is one that has dogged the whole series — is that the mutants are
either going to scare the hell out of you or look a little ridiculous.
I tend more to the latter camp. With all the goopy makeup, bruised and
mashed faces, snaggleteeth, the grunting, the drool and blood, they look like circus geeks
gone cannibal. They all look like rejected Muppets — it's really hard to take them seriously as threats.
Not that anyone should ever
take anything in any of these films seriously. Despite the fact that
screenwriters Craven and his son Jonathan make some empty suggestions early
on that this may be some kind of statement on the war in Iraq, this tact
goes nowhere. The Hills Have Eyes
movies aren't social commentary, at least not in this serious a vein.
They are sort of like the freaks tent at an old carnival — creepy,
disturbing, dirty and just vaguely embarrassing to have spent good money on.
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: June 23, 2007.