THE HILLS HAVE EYES II
Length: 89 minutes
Director: Martin Weisz (Rohtenburg; 60 Seconds)
Writers: Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street; The Last House on the Left) and Jonathan Craven (The Outpost)
Starring: Jacob Vargas, Michael McMillian, Michael Bailey Smith, Jeff Kober, Tyrell Kemlo, Lee Thompson Young, Danielle Alosno, Eric Edelstein, Jessica Stroup
The remake of “The Hills Have Eyes” was a pretty brutal and terrible movie. A horror movie that replaced scary with repulsive. Watching a mutant rape and murder a helpless woman and kill a baby is not very frightening. Well, at least it wasn’t frightening in that film. Could it be? I don’t know. Does anybody really enjoy watching that to begin with- regardless of it’s purpose? The sequel to the remake (which is not a remake of the original sequel) is tamer. Funny to say considering there is still a good deal of mutant raping and brain crushing, but at least we are spared baby killing. Less repulsive? Yes. Any scarier? No. I wrote a review for Disney’s “The Game Plan” and attacked it for being made solely to cash in. The same can be said about “The Hills Have Eyes II”. Given the standard horror film rule- if it is even modestly successful it gets a sequel- it is more understandable. The original remake brought in over $40 million at the box office and a year later out pops a sequel. The “Saw” films, though no work of genius, manage to drop an entry once a year and seem to put at least a little bit of thought into it. This sequel, however, has rushed written all over it with very little thought involved. A group of National Guard soldiers go into the desert to try to find some missing scientists. The desert is, of course, the same setting of the original film, so when the party arrives the mutants are waiting. You can pretty much guess the rest. What is rather odd is the participation of original “Hills Have Eyes” creator and horror mastermind Wes Craven. Craven penned the script with his son Jonathan. I imagine the more likely scenario was Jonathan penned the script and dad put his name on it to have it sell. Wes has made some lousy films before (“Vampire in Brooklyn” comes to mind), but he at least puts some imagination into his work. The mutant rape and brain crushing is present, but, you know, minus the imagination.