The Hills Have Eyes remake was a great film that did the original proud. Super violent, super gory with great acting & fantastic visuals, I really enjoyed it & you can read a review of that here.
It’s such a pity than that his sub-par, cliché, yawn-fest exists, a stain on a name that has seen good releases overall.
Opening with gore, we see a captive woman having one of the worst childbirths ever. It’s graphic & looks extremely unhealthy, which turns out to be true when the baby is stillborn so the woman is killed by Papa Hades, the leader of a group of mutants.
Elsewhere, a group of scientists installing surveillance equipment in the desert (suggested that this might be because of the events of the first film) are attacked & killed by another mutant, Letch. That’s a lot of death in the opening few minutes without much context. Hardly the best start as questions are instantly raised. Such as: If the US Department of Defence knew about the mutants why would they send such a small unit out to complete this task?
We then see a group of National Guardsmen & women performing terribly during a mock combat situation. They would have all been killed, something their unforgiving Sergeant makes sure they know.
For their penance they are sent on the boring mission to resupply a group of scientists…guess which ones? That’s right! The scientists currently all dead at the hands of the mutants.
I really don’t think the Department of Defence is taking their treat seriously enough.
Arriving at the camp they find it deserted but pick up a faint radio signal in the mountains. The majority go to investigate while two are left behind as punishment. Both sets of soldiers come under attack from the mutants & several of them are killed (including the Sergeant in an unfortunate accident). Regrouping they attempt to find a way down but find their gear stolen so have no choice but to make their way through the caves, the caves that the mutants live in.
The soldiers, a group so dysfunctional they wouldn’t be allowed to appear on Jerry Springer have no choice but to pull together & use all the skills they’ve learnt while training.
The concept is great but the final product lacks any kind of excitement. The problem lies in just how bland the soldiers are. It’s rare that soldiers in horror movies are ever written with any semblance of personality (Dog Soldiers is a good example of how to get it right) & here it’s no different. Each character has one personality trait & that’s the only way to identify them. We have the hot-head Latino, the nerdy survivor, the Michelle Rodriguez (you know, tough tom-boy), the chubby dumb one…etc. Their neither likeable nor unlikable, you just won’t care about them.
The acting varies but no-one is terrible. They often don’t react to the situations they are in & the lack of emotion shown for fallen colleagues is annoying.
The same can be said for the mutants who just don’t have the same impact as the ones from the first film. Uninspired looks with Papa Hades just being a poorer Pluto & the infuriating good mutant, Hansel. I hated this guy, it makes no sense for him to be helping them & it’s barely explained.
The mutant’s motivation being to capture the woman so they can breed with them is clever but it’s just for shocks, rather than coherent story telling.
There is plenty of violence & gore but it lacks realism & the cast is so big people are killed off far too quickly.
It’s a let down of a movie with a disappointing finale. This is a story that has been well & truly put to bed now, we don’t need any more sequels (even though it has a sequel bait final scene). My advice? Watch the originals & the remake of the first film. This isn’t going to do much for fans of the horror genre.
The Hills Have Eyes II