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Overall Rating

Awesome: 1.96%
Worth A Look: 17.65%
Just Average: 3.92%
Pretty Crappy: 31.37%

6 reviews, 15 user ratings

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Hills Have Eyes 2, The
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Can't see this one being popular in the White House screening room."
4 stars

Who’d have thought that a quickie sequel to a horror remake would turn out to be the strongest argument against going into the military since 'The Ground Truth'?

Lifelong liberal Wes Craven (who directed the original 1977 Hills Have Eyes) and his son Jonathan wrote the script for The Hills Have Eyes II, and they seem to have approached it as a golden opportunity to warn the teen, mostly male audience away from fighting unwinnable battles in the desert. The result is a nastily effective piece of action-horror, as reflective of its time and its war as the Vietnam-era Deliverance was of its time and war.

For those who think I’m reading too much into a horror film, let me point out that we’re introduced to the heroes — a bunch of cheesedick National Guard troops — while they’re negotiating a faux-Kandahar training mission. They bollocks it up pretty well; their sergeant informs them that if it had been a real mission, they’d all be dead. One soldier, nicknamed Napoleon, dares to remark that the President lies too much, and is told that all presidents lie. So if you sign up to serve, you’re going to be sent by liars to kill and die — welcome to the Army, son. This all happens before the movie is ten minutes old.

As noted above, The Hills Have Eyes II isn’t as much of a straight horror film as the Craven original or the Alexandre Aja remake from last year. It’s more in line with Deliverance, Southern Comfort, Rituals, Aliens — the subgenre of survival horror wherein a motley crew of hardcases unwisely enter a nightmarish terrain whose grotesque inhabitants know the turf lethally well. As such, it’s better than recent attempts like Doom and the Resident Evil series — by virtue of not being based on a videogame, in fact, it’s the most brutally efficient such entry we’ve seen in years.

The soldiers are all given one trait to cart around in lieu of characterization, but subtle character development is not what we want from a film like this; we want good guys vs. bad guys, and when the soldiers arrive at the desolate Section 16, the irradiated patch of New Mexico where the previous film unfolded, they’re set upon almost immediately by a band of repulsive, inhumanly strong mutants. One by one, the men are torn apart and one of the female soldiers is dragged off to be raped; the movie actually opens with a captured woman giving bloody birth to a mutant child and then summarily smashed to death. If Craven can’t get you to worry about being mangled in Iraq, he’ll hammer on your fear of a female family member in the service getting plowed from behind by The Enemy. There's no exultation when the soldiers fight back; again and again, they say "Let's get out of here," as clear a signifier of support-the-troops-bring-them-home as anything Michael Moore could've come up with.

For what it is, The Hills Have Eyes II is muscularly directed (by Martin Weisz, another foreign horror director delighting in showing us the vicious rot underneath our patriotic veneer), setting up a harsh, dusty, rocky milieu only monsters could survive. Ruthlessly gory at times — it’s no wonder this was one of the movies that sparked complaints that the R rating was becoming too permissive — the film has an authentic grindhouse ugliness.

For 35 years now, Wes Craven has spoken uncomfortable social/political truths in the language of blood and guts. This grim piece of work, which comes at just the right time to counteract "300"’s fighting for glory against Persian ogres, proves Craven hasn’t yet lost his voice.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15600&reviewer=416
originally posted: 03/25/07 16:49:24
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User Comments

1/07/14 Martin Horrible writing, acting, story. Great gore, action. Really hot blonde. 3 stars
8/25/12 roscoe a horror flick that's more of a action flick. that's wrong 2 stars
1/04/10 art HORRIBLE,JUST LIKE THE 1977 original,and that 20006 REMAKE! 1 stars
6/20/09 Yahel I was inpressed with Daniella Alonso, she lives in my building 4 stars
1/14/09 Shaun Wallner Friiggin Awesome!! 5 stars
1/06/09 FrankNFurter Yuck!I need a hot shower with a loofah after seeing this gutter-trash. 1 stars
2/16/08 ben dover fucking wank 1 stars
12/17/07 Thomas Pacheco great sequal to a great original horror film 4 stars
10/24/07 art makes you wish you never saw part one 1 stars
9/13/07 Monday Morning The feelgood movie of the year! What year, I don't know... 2 stars
8/18/07 mr.mike not all that good 2 stars
4/03/07 Summersweet207 i only liked the first one because of the gore 3 stars
3/30/07 Mike Similar to the descent but better! Lighten up and have fun critics! 4 stars
3/28/07 becky What can I say? Cannibals made by radiation...? 2 stars
3/24/07 irbear Total waste of time!!!! 1 stars
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  23-Mar-2007 (R)
  DVD: 17-Jul-2007

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  DVD: 30-Jul-2007

  31-Oct-2007 (R)
  DVD: 31-Oct-2007

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