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The Hills Have Eyes II (2007)

DVD Cover (Fox Atomic)
Movie Connections:
The Hills Have Eyes
> The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
> The Hills Have Eyes, Part 2 (1985)
> The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
> The Hills Have Eyes II (2007)
Director:
Martin Weisz Martin Weisz
Starring:
Cécile Breccia Cécile Breccia
Michael Bailey Smith Michael Bailey Smith
Archie Kao Archie Kao
Jay Acovone Jay Acovone
Jeff Kober Jeff Kober

4.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Slasher Film
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Review by Chad
Added: August 26, 2007
Last year, Alexandre Aja solidified his place in the world of horror by outdoing Wes Craven himself with the remake of The Hills Have Eyes. This remake was an anomaly in the cinema world, as it wasn't worse than the original, nor was it merely on par with the original; no, this remake completely destroyed the original and made us want to forget all about Craven's vision. Then, the sequel to this remake was announced, and I have to admit that I had high hopes for it even though Aja declined another turn in the director's chair and even though the chosen director didn't exactly have a whole lot of filmmaking credentials (he's best known for directing music videos for Brandy, Puff Daddy, Korn, Sisqo, Nickelback, and JC Chasez). When it finally hit theaters, the first wave of reviews were not kind to it, to say the very least; however, I still had to give it a shot. It wasn't a pretty sight.

The storyline for this offering is basically nonexistent, but the small plot that we are given centers around a group of fresh-faced teens trying to pass themselves off as members of the National Guard. They're sent out to a familiar patch of wasteland in the New Mexico desert to deliver something to the scientists who are working there, and upon arriving, they find out that everyone is missing. Gee, I wonder what happened to them? Faster than you can say "cheap cash-in!", the mutants are upon our military heroes and we have ourselves a film. Rounding out the cast is Sarge (Flex Alexander), Missy (Daniella Alonso), Amber (Jessica Stroup), Crank (Jacob Vargas), and Napoleon (Michael McMillian).

Where to even begin with this? Let's see... the original gave us a group of characters that we could identify with, placed them in a situation that we could sort of see ourselves in (stranded in the middle of nowhere), and then introduced the mutants to turn it into a full-fledged horror movie. Having the audience connect with the characters is a vital part of any successful horror flick, and Alexandre Aja knew this: the result was one of the best horror films of the year, and it was also entry number five in my personal 'best of' for last year.

For his sequel, Martin Weisz decided to scrap all of that and give us a horror film that looks as though it was made exclusively for the MTV audience. The film relies exclusively on the same old horror clichés that went out of style back in the eighties, and instead of giving us genuine scares, Weisz is content to simply make a loud noise here and there and occasionally have a mutant pop up out of nowhere to scream "Boo!" at the audience. Character development? Gone - the best we get is a quick look at these soldiers going through a basic training exercise before they're thrown into the film. Audience identification? Gone - unless you yourself are a member of the National Guard (and a lousy one at that), you'll likely find yourself rooting for the villains... at least, you would if they had any sort of personality.

Yes, that's another change that was made for this sequel. Whereas all of the mutants in the original (well, the remake) had distinct personalities, a trait which led to the audience being able to choose their favorites and the ones that they wanted to see get their comeuppance as the film progressed, this one is content to simply give us "the one that rapes women" and "the helpful one." I guess that's sort of fitting seeing as how they're really only there to provide the death scenes, which is just about the only halfway decent aspect of the entire film.

Note that I said "halfway decent" and not "excellent". This is because the gore effects and kill methods found here are CGI-fests which range from laughably-fake to "well, I guess that was alright", and for the most part, they look like they were directly inspired by the latest wave of so-called "torture porn" films. When we watched a character get killed in Aja's film, it made an impact... when we watch a character get killed here, it just means that we're that much closer to finally getting through the running time. What hurts these scenes the most, aside from the obvious CGI work and the same tired kill methods that we've seen countless times before, is the MTV-style editing. As previously mentioned in this review, Martin Weisz got his start by shooting music videos and it certainly shows here. Each and every last one of the kills is shown in a way that could quite possibly give somebody an epileptic seizure, and trust me when I say that that doesn't make for an enjoyable film.

So, the good: the dog didn't get its own flashback this time around, and a couple of the kill sequences were decent enough. The bad? Everything else about the film, as well as the fact that I wasted a Netflix slot on it. 2/10.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 08/26/2007, 02:49 PM
What the hell happened with this film? It was a complete and utter disaster. The best thing about it was the early teaser trailer, which was one of the coolest horror trailers I have ever seen. This film was just absolutely worthless and one of the worst horror films of the year. It sucked. 0/10.
Edd #2: Edd - added 08/30/2007, 12:53 AM
The first kill was the only one worth watching. 5 minutes into it, and I already regretted it. 0/10
Crispy #3: Crispy - added 09/19/2007, 09:09 PM
The best thing about it was the early teaser trailer, which was one of the coolest horror trailers I have ever seen.

My thoughts exactly. One of the best examples of "Less is More" I've ever seen, complete with Devendra Banhart's creepy ass voice.
Tristan #4: Tristan - added 09/19/2007, 09:21 PM
Insect Eyes, right? Yeah, I loved that trailer, and figured the movie would be good based on that. Whooooo boy. 3/10
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