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Overall Rating
2

Awesome: 1.96%
Worth A Look: 17.65%
Average: 3.92%
Pretty Bad: 31.37%
Total Crap45.1%

6 reviews, 15 user ratings


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Hills Have Eyes 2, The
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by Todd LaPlace

"The hills can have mine, just so I don’t have to watch this anymore."
1 stars

I’m pretty sure the pitch meeting for “The Hills Have Eyes II” went something like this: “So I know we all thought that remaking a crappy Wes Craven movie from the 1970s was a horrible idea, but much to our surprise, it actually made quite a bit of money and got quite a bit of critical buzz. The horror fans lapped it up. They love us now! Now let’s figure out a way to exploit them! I know! Let’s make a horrible movie, slap the same title on it and release it against a sappy Adam Sandler drama! We’ll be rich! Bwahahahahahaha!”

“The Hills Have Eyes II” is a sequel to a remake of a Wes Craven cult horror flick. It is not, however, a remake of the sequel to a Wes Craven cult horror flick. It’s actually an important distinction because one sequel is about bikers (and titled “The Hills Have Eyes Part 2” to provide a subtle variation) and the other is about National Guard trainees (and subtitled “I’m a Guaranteed Money Maker and Can Therefore Afford to be Boring”). Oops, did I give away too much? Perhaps I misled you with the word “important,” as that’s largely relative in this case, as this peculiarity is about as interesting as this movie gets.

Although I guess I should concede that “interesting” is relative too. If you’re the kind of person that would apply it to attention-grabbing creativity, then you’re going to be out of luck. However, if you’re interested in excessive gore and violence, well, actually you’re still probably going to be disappointed, but considerably less so. Director Martin Weisz, who’s perhaps better known for his Korn music videos than last year’s controversial festival flick “Rohtenburg,” certainly throws in his fair share of dangling intestines and sliced limbs, but they play more like scenes rejected from the remade original than an innovative progression. It looks like the gore-horror heyday is already starting to wear thin, and the explanation is the same as every other subgenre that’s dropped out of favor in the last hundred years; there’s simply nothing holding the exciting bits together. There’s no characterization, no dramatic tension, no building terror and no motivation for us to care.

On their way to a rifle range, a group of rookie National Guard trainees makes a short detour to deliver supplies to a group of scientists monitoring Sector 16, aka the hunting ground of the hill mutants. Wanna place bets on the fate of those scientists? The delivery quickly turns into a search-and-rescue operation as the group goes hunting for possible survivors. The nine trainees do actually have names (as well as handy, descriptive nicknames), but they might have done better to skip them altogether. There’s the good soldier whose distinguishable simply because he’s the black one (Lee Thompson Young); the radio man with an ironic speech impediment (Eric Edelstein); the violence-crazed nutjob that basically hates everything and everyone (Jacob Vargas); the two women (apparently this is personality enough, although if you’d like to distinguish them, Jessica Stroup is the blonde and Daniella Alonso is the brunette); the guy with the mandana (Ben Crowley); the expendable hot guy that’s apparently doomed by his own sex appeal (Reshad Strik); the yell-happy sergeant (Flex Alexander); and the soldier that’s against violence and for being able to shit comfortably (Michael McMillian). If you’d like to play our game of guessing who’s going to survive, just try and pick out the names you recognize and add them to our list. Just shout them out. Don’t be shy. Anyone? No? The only ones I had were Alexander — he already survived snakes on a plane, so how hard can hill mutants be? — and McMillian, but only because I was one of the two people to watch that crappy sitcom with Amanda Bynes and Jennie Garth, and I’m not sure that qualifies him to survive a horror flick. After all, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s” Sarah Michelle Gellar bit it in a couple of horror flicks and she was the star of her show. In case you couldn’t tell, things do not bode well for any of the Guardsmen.

While I could easily rag on the green director or the nobody cast, I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. Weisz is certainly a competent, if a little hackneyed, director and several members of the cast are certainly competent actors; they’re all just new and don’t necessarily know better yet. That same comment can’t apply to Wes Craven, who wrote the screenplay with son Jonathan Craven. It’s been 35 years since he made his debut with the genuinely terrifying “Last House on the Left,” so I think it’s pretty safe to say that he’s learned a thing or two since then. How, then, does he get away with the laughable dialogue of “The Hills Have Eyes II”? Let me paraphrase every conversation for you: “Fuck this shit. Fuck that shit. This is fucking bullshit.” Literally every conversation boils down to those three sentences, which are quite often followed by one character wandering off alone and getting pulled into a teeny tiny hole of death. Or more specifically, having just killed a bloodthirsty hill mutant and spouted a round of “Fuck this shit,” the brunette woman (who just moments earlier acted as mutant bait) decides to wander off and pee in peace. Wanna bet on whether another mutant comes out of the hills to drag her in? (Apparently they like their women alive, so they can be impregnated with more hill mutants. And just in case you were wondering, they apparently like to do it doggie style. Who knew?)

Traditionally, horror movies have been considered the red-headed stepchild of the film genres, a reputation that has been upheld by frequent critical thrashings paired with big box office numbers. Traditionally, horror films have also enjoyed the most loyal fan following, with the most hardcore junkies even seeing all those dismal B-grade direct-to-DVD flicks. “The Hills Have Eyes II” is the perfect example to prove that studios are exploiting the latter in order to fulfill the former. With the exception of a few makeup artists and visual effects people (and unfortunately, papa Craven who produced the remake), only one actor is back (Michael Bailey Smith) and he’s not even playing the same hill mutant character. When “Saw” became a smash, producers rushed an unrelated script into production as “Saw II,” only stopping long enough to throw in a few scenes with Jigsaw. “The Hills Have Eyes II” has the same problem, without the clever premise that almost pulls it off. The filmmakers have slapped a recognizable name on a trite bit of bloody fluff and are attempting to pass it off as a genuine sequel. Hopefully it doesn’t work, because “The Hills Have Eyes II” is one of those horror movies I would gladly give up my eyes to, if only so I don’t have to watch crap like this ever again.

How thoughtful it was of the “Hills Have Eyes II” filmmakers to give us one of those handy good/bad comparisons! It was so much easier to praise movies like “The Truman Show” when there was something awful like “EdTV” to compare it to. Remember last year’s “The Descent”? That movie about a group of British girls that are lost in a series of caves, only to get brutally slaughtered by creepy mutants living there? Remember how good it was? “The Hills Have Eyes II” is just like that, only the exact opposite. See how handy that is?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15600&reviewer=401
originally posted: 03/26/07 14:12:07
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User Comments

1/07/14 Martin Horrible writing, acting, story. Great gore, action. Really hot blonde. 3 stars
8/25/12 roscoe a horror flick that's more of a action flick. that's wrong 2 stars
1/05/10 art HORRIBLE,JUST LIKE THE 1977 original,and that 20006 REMAKE! 1 stars
6/21/09 Yahel I was inpressed with Daniella Alonso, she lives in my building 4 stars
1/15/09 Shaun Wallner Friiggin Awesome!! 5 stars
1/06/09 FrankNFurter Yuck!I need a hot shower with a loofah after seeing this gutter-trash. 1 stars
2/17/08 ben dover fucking wank 1 stars
12/18/07 Thomas Pacheco great sequal to a great original horror film 4 stars
10/25/07 art makes you wish you never saw part one 1 stars
9/14/07 Monday Morning The feelgood movie of the year! What year, I don't know... 2 stars
8/18/07 mr.mike not all that good 2 stars
4/04/07 Summersweet207 i only liked the first one because of the gore 3 stars
3/30/07 Mike Similar to the descent but better! Lighten up and have fun critics! 4 stars
3/29/07 becky What can I say? Cannibals made by radiation...? 2 stars
3/24/07 irbear Total waste of time!!!! 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Mar-2007 (R)
  DVD: 17-Jul-2007

UK
  30-Mar-2007 (18)
  DVD: 30-Jul-2007

Australia
  31-Oct-2007 (R)
  DVD: 31-Oct-2007




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