Title: The Hills Have Eyes
Release Date: Theatrical 3/10/06, available on DVD 6/20/06
Stars: Emilie de Ravin, Kathleen Quinlan, Vinessa Shaw, Ezra Buzzington, Billy Drago, Michael Baily Smith, Desmond Askew, Tom Bower
Director: Alexander Aja
Screenwriter: Alexander Aja, Gregory Levasseur,
MPAA Rating: R
Reason for Rating: Strong violent gore and language throughout
Runtime: 1 hour 51 minutes
A family on vacation travels through the desert on their way to California, in a camper. Taking dubious advice from a gas attendant lands them in the middle of nowhere with two flat tires and a bent axle. Now begins the bizarre visits from a family of irradiated ex-miners, turned cannibals. This is a modern remake of Wes Craven’s 1977 groundbreaking freakfest and cult classic.
I have to start with the answers any true cult follower would want to know; is it gory – enough? My answer, oh yeah, plenty of gore to go round in this film. With today’s technological advances Aja sticks with what works, blinding violent ferocity. Each death is sickening and as violent as possible, so much so that I squinched my face and jumped. These guys have the market cornered on gore, hands down. There were also a couple of surprises that I liked, because I didn’t see them coming.
Now, where does it fail, plausibility. What would you do in these situations? These characters are by and large morons. It’s the desert equivalent of going outside to check a noise with a flashlight, after your best friend has been killed by an axe wielding maniac. Give me a break. Another thing, no one knows how to shoot a gun. Theoretically speaking, the father was a gun totin’ Christian, but didn’t teach his kids how to shoot straight.
The idea that you had a bleeding heart liberal and a hawkish right winger, both on the trip was amusing, although not very subtle, but still amusing. Ultimately, I thought the film didn’t live up to its former success. Not bad mind you, not bad at all, just not as smart as I would have liked the remake to be. If you’re a gore or a slasher fan, you’ll like this movie. Reduced to the least common denominator it’s a success. A special shout out to the composer, the music was spot on and really created the type of tension necessary.
Hit or No Hit: Considering that Hill’s hasn’t had an at bat for almost 30 years, it shows remarkable confidence at the plate. Coach Mikes gives it a base hit, not forgetting that it hit a home run its last time up, even if it was three decades ago.