The Hills Have Eyes
The most frightening thing about this remake of Wes Craven's 1977 film of the same title had nothing to do with the film. For me, the scariest thing about being in that theater was watching the teenager in front of me who, after various genetic mutants took axes to the face or head, pumped his fist in some kind of kindred ritualistic triumph.
To think that there are teenagers in this world who take genuine sadistic pleasure in watching people being murdered scares me a lot more than the possibility that there are genetic mutants out in the middle of New Mexico slaughtering unsuspecting suburban families who happen to drive into the wrong place. Let's face it, if you actually want to drive cross-country in an SUV with your entire extended family including a newborn, being slaughtered by genetic mutant freaks might seems like a welcome change of pace.
The motivation at work here is exactly the same one that's been at work in the last five, ten or twenty horror film remakes: easy money. Include a lot of blood, a lot of gore and a lot of slaughter in a story that's already been done and people come running to pay their $8.50 and watch it. There's absolutely no need to include an original idea. People just don't care.
However, director Alexandre ("High Tension") Aja does try to deliver something of a political statement, though since he's French, taking it seriously is a bit hard. The French are to serious politics what Bill O'Reilly is to intellectual discourse. The New Mexico desert is supposedly inhabited by mutant miners created as the result of nuclear testing. Bob Carter (Ted Levine) and his family try taking a shortcut on their way somewhere. Bob crashes the truck and he, his wife (Kathleen Quinlan), youngest daughter Brenda (Emilie de Ravin), eldest daughter (Vinessa Shaw), son (Dan Byrd) and son-in- law (Aaron Stanford), become the latest victims of the savage mutants.
Aside from the evils of nuclear testing, the movie makes a point of highlighting the fact that the Carters are all Republicans while son-in-law Doug is the lone Democrat. Predictably, Bob loves guns and Doug doesn't. Predictably, Doug must learn to love the gun and use it to survive. At the end, the only point left on the audience is what simpletons Aja and the rest of the filmmakers must be.
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