The Hills Have Eyes 2
Review by Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: The Making Of The Hills Have Eyes 2 – Featurette; Deleted Scenes; Gag Reel; ‘Life After Film School’ With Wes Craven; Feature On The Mutants; Feature On The Making Of A Graphic Novel.
THE original pitch for The Hills Have Eyes 2 found Emilie de Ravin’s surviving character from the original remake joining the National Guard to get over her fears and then being sent back to the New Mexico desert to do battle with the cannibalistic mutants once again.
Due to her commitments with Lost, however, de Ravin wasn’t available, so Wes Craven and co had to search for an alternative scenario.
With the help of German-born director Martin Weisz, they didn’t search far. This grim sequel still focuses on a National Guard unit who are sent to the New Mexico outpost to deliver equipment to a group of atomic scientists.
When they arrive, they find the place deserted and deploy themselves into the distant mountain range to carry out a search and rescue mission; unaware that they’re walking into a trap set by the family patriarch of the mutants, Papa Hades.
The unit in question is, of course, as green as they come and fall prone to stupid decision making at every opportunity, as well as inevitable character progressions.
Included among then is PFC Napoleon, the apparent coward who becomes the hero of the day (Michael McMillian), feisty female officer Amber Johnson (Jessica Stroup), gung-ho cry-baby PFC Crank (Jacob Vargas) and doomed from the start Sarge (Flex Alexander).
Viewers will quickly be able to guess the order of victims, while ticking off the numerous references to other, better films along the way.
Everything from the Alien franchise to The Descent is covered in some way – minus the panache with which those horror classics were delivered.
Instead, The Hills Have Eyes 2 is a nasty piece of work that pretty much offends from the outset with its reprehensible first scene – that of a bound woman being forced to give birth to a mutant baby, relayed in graphic detail.
Much like Alexandre Aja’s original remake, this sequel doesn’t seem to know whether it wants to be treated as a seriously hardcore horror movie, or a slightly tongue in cheek crowdpleaser.
The result is a film that features rape one moment and uneasy laughs the next – all of which leave a horrible taste in the mouth.
Weisz previously directed the equally controversial Butterfly: A Grimm Love Story, which explored a cannibalistic date between two men, and clearly gets his kicks from pushing cinematic boundaries in the horror genre.
But he fails to bring anything new to the genre here, making this lazy retread an onerous experience for whoever pays to see it.
Running time: 90mins