In one of the nicest surprises I’ve had watching horror, The Hills Have Eyes remake is actually a good film that does the original justice.
Deep in the New Mexico desert we see a group of scientists murdered by a mutant (Pluto) in a very violent sequence. It’s instantly clear that Pluto is a serious threat as he tosses the scientists around with ease.
Elsewhere the Carter family are on a holiday road-trip across America. The family is made up of Bob, his wife Ethel, their teenage kids Bobby & Brenda as well as their eldest daughter, Lynn who has her husband Doug & their baby daughter Catherine as well as their two dogs.
While travelling through the New Mexico desert they stop at a gas station & are told of a shortcut through the desert that isn’t on the maps. With tensions between the family members high, it seems like a good idea to get through the desert as quickly as possible.
Along the hidden route though they crash after a spike trap punctures their tires. Doug & Bob take off in different directions to get help while the rest of the family stay behind.
The family soon come under attack from mutants that live in the hills. They are victims of nuclear testing that occurred long ago & have since developed into murderous cannibals. What follows is a fun battle for survival with lashings of blood & gore.
The level of violence has been criticised by some but I for one loved it. Far too many modern retellings look to tone down gore but here it flows like a river but retains a realistic edge.
The effects are great with the mutants looking disgustingly deformed (especially in the case of Cyst & Big Brain). Later when we see where the mutants live it fleshes out their backstory to add layers of believability. It’s easy to see how they have gone unnoticed as no-one would expect anyone to survive in the harsh desert environment.
You can feel the heat from the sun, the dry dust in the air & the blood on the sand. It’s a great location with some fantastic aerial shots (the crater scene is very unsettling).
A lot of time is spent with the Carter family as we see how Bob treats Doug with such disdain only for Doug to rise up & take charge of the situation when it matters the most. Put in an impossible situation, having to save his baby daughter from the mutants, Doug is a character you will absolutely get behind. His battle with Pluto is incredible.
It’s was nice to see the women of the family also try to fight back & they only really succumb when the babies life is put in jeopardy (we also get a very uncomfortable rape & breast feeding scene). Rather than just letting her rape destroy here, Brenda along with Bobby end up setting a well planned trap for Papa Jupiter. It’s a great few scenes as you’ll want to see these barely human monsters get their comeuppance.
The acting is brilliant all the way through, with the horror of what occurs visible on everyone’s face. Those playing the mutants commit to their roles with glee, clearly having a blast.
Which is exactly what The Hills Have Eyes remake is, a blast from start to finish. One of the best remakes I’ve seen & if you’re a fan of the original you won’t be disappointed here.
The Hills Have Eyes - Remake