The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
What’s This About: A family vacationing in an RV run afoul of a sadistic family of mutants while traveling through the American desert. I don’t know what this family was expecting. A typical vacation in Arizona I hear.
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- Funny thing about this flick. This is the third time I’m seeing it. I really liked it the first time but was utterly disappointed the second time. That’s never really happened to me before for a more or less modern flick. So we’ll see what I think this third time around.
- I also have to rewatch the original since I only saw that once and that was over 20 years ago.
- Alexandre Aja. Where did he go?
- Not sure why there are two dudes in hazmat suits doing research in the New Mexico desert but they just got fucked up by a rather large mutant with a pick-ax.
- Emilie de Ravin from Lost. What was it about these horror reboots in the aughts that had at least one actor from a highly popular TV series.
- Edited by “Baxter.” Good ol’ Baxter.
- It’s amazing that any decent rational human being would want to live in the remote desert.
- Is this hillbilly actor the same that tried to shoot Fletch?
- Nope. It’s Marvin from Die Hard 2!
- This gas station attendant is very nonplussed about the severed ear he found in that styrofoam box.
- Ted Levine! Buffalo Bill himself!
- And I forgot that the kid from Cougar Town was in this!
- No, San Diego New Jersey dipshit.
- Why is Ted Levine’s son-in-law dressed business casual on this vacation road trip?
- Isn’t this kinda of schlock a little beneath Kathleen Quinlan’s talents?
- Michael Berryman should’ve played the gas station attendant.
- Would you take a detour that this hillbilly gas station attendant tells you about unsolicited? Yeah, me neither.
- This kid is complaining about being on a vacation in the summer in a camper van with a broken air conditioner yet he’s wearing two layers with a long-sleeved t-shirt.
- I just realized that the older daughter, who’s married to Doug, was in Hocus Pocus.
- “Can we fix it?” He just said the car has a broken axle and it’s totaled. So yeah, it’s not fixable in the condition you’re in.
- While the car is totaled and they’re stuck in the middle of the barren desert, Emile De Ravin decides to sunbath. No complaints here.
- “Democrats don’t believe in guns.”
- So Ted Levine is going back to that gas station. Yet his son-in-law, Doug, is walking somewhere else to try to find help. In all this time they’ve had the accident, no one is questioning why both front wheels have blow-outs in the middle of the desert on a stretch of road that they took because some weirdo at the gas station told them to take?
- This family has some of the worst dogs obedience-wise. This is the third time that they ran off into the desert.
- Sandpeople always travel in single file to hide their numbers.
- I rewatched the original for this review (don’t mention it) and it’s curious that the first third or so of this flick is almost beat for beat the same as the original. Even the dogs’ names are the same. Bobby’s line about what Freud would say about his mom’s constant mentioning of rattlesnakes is the exact same. Very interesting indeed.
- I can’t believe Ted Levine made it back to the gas station already. Meanwhile Doug is wasting time checking out abandoned cars in what looks to be an old Nuclear bomb test site.
- Sweet shotgun blast to the face effect!
- Ted Levine, ex-cop mind you, gets into a stranger’s car without looking to make sure it was empty and finds himself getting assailed and kidnapped. Dipshit.
- Bobby got hurt a while back looking for one of the dogs when he fell off a short cliff. He was being looked out after by some mutant girl wearing his missing red hoodie. But she nor the bowler hat-wearing mutant never harmed him in all this time until he was rescued by his sister Brenda.
- As opposed to the Wes Craven original, the cannibalistic family of freaks in the desert are deformed and mutated due to constant US military nuclear weapon testing. In the original, Craven left it ambiguous as to why they were cannibalistic freaks.
- Yup, even keeping the way Ted Levine’s character is crucified and burned on a tree the same as the original.
- And raiding the camper’s food and eating the pet parakeet are practically the same too. Is there anything original in this?
- It’s as if Aja saw the original and said, I kinda like it but it’s too cute. I’m going to make it way gorier and depraved.
- I kinda wish I didn’t rewatch the ’77 original because now I’m bored seeing the same scenes but shot slightly different.
- There’s such a fine line about remaking movies. I don’t mind they remake a movie like The Hills Have Eyes because the original isn’t that well known—it’s a cult classic at best. So updating it is a decent idea to bring to more modern audiences. It’s not like this is Gus Van Sant’s remake of Psycho.
- This version has way better cinematography. The way the desert is filmed especially.
- Nice vulture.
- They were going to burn a car tire in the original but thought better of the idea. In this one they do but I’m still not sure why.
- For smoke to attract someone to help? I guess they have no other options.
- Not sure how Doug got himself and the dog, Beast, in that rusty car without that mutant seeing or hearing him but whatever.
- At least the film has diverted away from copying the original now though with Doug rescuing his baby daughter in the old fall-out test ghost town.
- Lucky that his daughter isn’t making a peep as he slowly tries to leave the house.
- Never mind, the mutant got him anyway.
- Alexandre Aja should’ve been the one to remake Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Not that hack Marcus Nispel. Aja then goes on to remake Joe Dante’s Piranha in a few years after this. Nispel does Friday the 13th and Conan the Barbarian (both suck).
- This rendition of the national anthem this mutant freak is belting out is only second to Whitney Houston’s from Super Bowl 25.
- This mutant’s deformity is that his head is 4 times the size that it should be and it’s so heavy he needs a special harness on a chair for his head to rest on. Problem is the harness is on the back of the chair making him perpetually look up.
- I’m getting a shit ton of Jason Voorhees vibes from this one mutant (I’m guessing his name is Pluto [Berryman was the original Pluto]). He’s even kinda dressed like Jason did in part 3. Wielding an ax, face looking like a melted Cabbage Patch Doll head and superhuman strength.
- I’d imagine one would have to have a ton of strength to impale someone’s foot with a screwdriver. Doug was so strong he pierced through Pluto’s heavy work boot, foot and then through the hard wood flooring.
- Doug’s on a tear! But he left the large headed mutant alive though. Beast takes care of him though but not before the giant head gave orders for someone to kill Doug’s baby.
- If these mutants are mostly cannibals, I can’t imagine they get a lot of opportunities to feed on human flesh. Not too many people come around here I suspect. Not sure how these mutants survive at all.
- There’s no amount of therapy in the known universe that will help someone seeing their mother being eaten alive by a cannibalistic mutant.
- Bobby and Brenda have the same trap of the gas-filled trailer as the original. Even down to Bobby using matches taped to the front door set to strike a light when the front door is opened. They seriously couldn’t think of anything more clever?
- Billy Drago was Jupiter? This was the only scene he was in and he yelled and screamed the whole time and immediately died from opening the front door as it exploded. At least any normal human being would die from that. He’ll probably show up in a few minutes.
- So much shaky cam!!!
- Hard to survive being whipped in the face with a heavy metal spiked-chain yet Doug seems to have recovered nicely enough to finish off Mars (Lizard? Not sure of the name).
- The movie has the little mutant girl, Ruby, not only save Doug’s baby but also sacrificed herself to kill Lizard as well by tackling him off a cliff. Why did she help these normal humans is questionable given her background. So odd.
- So many pick-axes to the head kills in this.
- C’mon movie, don’t try to pretend to have a happy ending here!
- Oh wait someone is still watching them from afar with binoculars. The Hills STILL Have Eyes!
Final Thoughts: Not sure what to say about this remake. On the one hand it looks better and has bette acting and ups the gore and exploitative nature of the original. However, it’s almost too close to the original. So if you never seen the original and just watched this remake, you’d probably have a great entertaining time. Truth be told though, both films are lacking the horror department. It’s just a Texas Chainsaw Massacre rip-off. The main difference is that everyone in the desert family is a Leatherface but with less charm or personality. Sure being stranded in the middle of a desert is scary enough and having a group of deformed freaks trying to kill you is terrifying but watching someone go through it with enemies that act more or less like animals gets a little stale after awhile. I’m still scratching my head why the patriarch, Jupiter, was in only one scene (apparently he was the one who attacked Ted Levine ate the gas station but you only saw his eyes in the rear-view mirror). The 1977’s family had more personality and gave the film more creative weight. But it’s a slog to sit through and feels cheap and mediocre.
Score: 4 Hills With Eyes (out of 10)
Which was Better?: Both kinda stink but I would pick the remake to be honest. Sorry Mr. Berryman.
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