The Hills Have Eyes (Unrated Edition)
All the Carter family wanted to do was to drive to
and have a nice holiday together. But no. During their travels their trailer strangely gets
a puncher, and they find themselves stranded in the middle of the desert, with
nowhere else to go.
OK, not exactly 'nowhere' per say. As the head of the family, Bob (Ted Levine), decides that he and his son-in-law, Doug (Aaron Stanford) should both split up, and search for salvation one way or another.
Now Bob's wife, Ethel (Kathleen Quinlan), is just fine about this. And so too is his son and daughter, Bobby and Brenda (Dan Byrd and Emilie de Ravin), plus Doug's wife, Linda (Vinessa Shaw), and newborn baby.
Heck, I'm sure that even you would find it a reasonable plan too. Although I am afraid to say that nothing reasonable plays out in the way it should.
You see, living in this barren wasteland are a group of deformed nomad's, all corrupted by nuclear fallout which happened quite some time ago. Bobby is the first one out of this group to suspects something is amiss, when he goes searching for his dog and has an accident. This is then quickly followed by Doug, who comes across a group of abandoned vehicles left destitute in a large crater. And finally Bob realizes that something is really-really wrong, when he treks back to a service station that he and his kin previously frequented, and gets attacked by these nomads rather savagely.
Sounds pretty bad, don't you agree? However, it is not a bad as when these same nomad's flambé Bob, rape Brenda, shoot Ethel and Lynne, and kidnap the baby to boot.
Well, that's most probably why what next transpires is a rather blood stained and harsh affair all in all. As fortifications are made - nuclear test sites are surveyed - baseball is played - and everyone is left very-very dismayed.
Possibly the end.
'The Hills Have Eyes' starts off in a most unusual and baroque manner. The prologue involves two men wearing nuclear protection outfits getting chopped up by an unseen hand. The title sequence is a mixture of startling images mixed in with a kitch fifties montage. And the first ten minutes or so of this film is about a rough looking gent busying himself with his service station and someone that only he can see.
Very strange that, huh? Strange and benign. But I find this flick to be very clever at the same time as well. Hell yes! You see, this initial gumf sets the stage for a very scary and simple horror movie, which has all the hallmarks of being a classic slice of cinema from days past. Just like it's original counterpart of the same name.
Now in many ways 'The Hills Have Eyes' harks back to its original works, because it has a very intriguing way of building up tension within the scene's, by adding a precursor for each startling event.
For example, that scene where 'The Carson family get slaughtered worked so well, due to the fact that the previous thirty minutes of this film did three things om retrospect: (1) It introduced you to all the main characters, and made you relate to each of them on a personal level. Like the bold Dad, the comely Mum, the newlyweds, and the brat-ish children. (2) There were a couple of quite moment's played out in-between character pieces, allowing the suspense to build and build and build, without any real pay off. Holding this emotion in check. And (3) The plot touched upon the 'back-story' for the 'bad-guys', so you had a sneaking suspicion what to expect when they eventually reared their ugly heads.
OK, so some of what I just said may sound like 'horror 101' to you. But I am sure that if you have followed this genre of entertainment as I have, you'll know how many films have failed to acknowledge these very simple rules.
Overall this horror movie is very horrifying for all the right reasons. All of the actors stamp their grounds. The pretext is a simple one to follow. And it allows for the audiences 'emotion wilderness' to play out to the 'terrors of the unknown'. Agreed Aaron?
THE RATING: A