Run From the 'Hills'

Run From the 'Hills'

Film Review

Horror movies are supposed to choke, bludgeon, behead and dismember the life out of their characters. “The Hills Have Eyes 2” does the same thing to its predecessor, “The Hills Have Eyes,” by removing thought and intelligence and replacing it with some of the more horrific gore this critic has ever seen — yet it’s just plain disappointing.

Director Martin Weisz, struggling to come up with some way to be more disturbing than the 2006 remake, opens this 89-minute blood bath with a half naked woman giving bloody, gory, slow motion birth. Her spawn is a dead mutant baby, from the loins of the remaining nuclear mutants that live in the hills in the nuclear test zones of the Arizona desert. Evidently, they are trying to rebuild their numbers after the last film's fantastically fun massacres.

The campy fun of the first film is literally stillborn from the sequel's opening scene, and never returns. It's replaced by the now-cliché story of the military fighting off the creepy monsters with big guns. This isn’t any army though; this is the dumbest group of soldiers to ever be stuck in the desert on a routine training mission. Screenwriter Jonathan Craven, who must be on his own mission to destroy his father Wes's not-so-good name, envisions the military as a camp for people who talk back to their superior officers, have no idea what strategy is and enjoy wandering off on their own in ever-more-ludicrous situations. At one point, one of the soldiers actually moves away from the group — without telling anyone, mind you — to urinate. The least I would expect from the follow-up to what is a horror masterpiece (and the grandchild to Wes Craven’s original classic) is a believable idea for why characters might wander off on their own. Hearing a spooky noise is a better excuse than peeing.

The gore is still mighty gory, but not in the scary way — in that laughing out loud way that just makes each kill all the more disappointing. Even the obligatory rape sequence is handled with little care and has even less impact.

It’s upsetting that a horror series that was so wonderfully revived, and could have had some legs, was instead choked, bludgeoned, beheaded and dismembered into a pile of cliché blood and body parts.