Based on the original film by fright master Wes Craven, The Hills Have Eyes is the story of a family road trip that goes terrifyingly awry when the travelers become stranded in a government atomic zone. Miles from nowhere,... more » the Carter family soon realizes the seemingly uninhabited wasteland is actually the breeding ground of a blood-thirsty mutant family...and they are the prey.« less
Mark H. (djmark) from MONTEREY PARK, CA Reviewed on 3/15/2014...
Truly a gore classic retold with more gore, more disturbing images and seeing Monk's Police chief experience the wrong side of barbeque makes it worth it. Ted Levine came full circle, first as Wild bill in Silence of the Lambs, then as the Police Chief in monk, then as a hapless traveler in this tale or irradiated freaks. It's a film for the whole family! (the Manson Family)lol.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Horror films are back and are deadlier than ever!
Kolors | Pocatello, Idaho | 03/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After Alexandre Aja more than proved to us that he can do horror like horror is supposed to be done with last year's release of High Tension, he comes back this year with a remake of Craven's classic The Hills Have Eyes. And this movie certainly has arrived. Aja's remake more than stands up to the original. The original was controversial for it's time, so this one can't be any less than that, and it isn't. You know you are seeing a real horror film when people walk out after a violent scene, and they did just that at my screening. I'd be lying if I told you this wasn't the goriest movie I've seen on the big screen, at least in my days as a movie-goer. As brutal as Hostel claimed itself to be (no diss on Hostel though, great movie in itself) it really isn't anything compared to this. This movie is just traumatic, blood-soaked, and distasteful, and I love it. And the movie just doesn't have gore to offer. The movie had much better acting than what we are used to when it comes to films of this nature. The family seems like a real family. The way they interact with each other adds a sense of realism to the terror they are about to experience. The cinematography was really awesome as well. The killing sequences were creative, brutal and well thought out. And the makeup effects were just astonishing when it came to the deformed killers, which added an enigmatic visual sickness to the movie. Just an overall awesome movie. So forget Boogeyman, Dark Water, The Ring, White Noise, The Skeleton Key and all that crap. This is how modern horror is done , folks. Like it or get out."
The Hills Have Eyes - Just as good as the original.
Austin James | 07/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, I must admit to you that I was a bit skeptical about this movie. One of the reasons for this was the fact that the movie was a remake. With the constant stream of remakes pouring out of Hollywood lately, I was worried that this would just be another worthless movie, a remake of a movie that didn't need to be remade. And, while I did see promise for this movie in the trailer, I just didn't think that it would be as good as the original. The second reason for my skepticism going into watching this movie was because the original was directed by Wes Craven, arguably the greatest horror director ever. Nobody can match what he did with the original, can they?
Alexandre Aja, the director of the movie Haute Tension, stepped up to the plate to direct this remake. As a matter of fact, Aja was selected by Wes Craven to direct this remake, which Craven also produced. If you aren't familiar with Aja, I'd recommend that you check out Haute Tension, which was later released in the United States under the name High Tension. It was only the third movie that Aja had directed to that point and was, in my opinion, one of the best mainstream horror movies of 2005 and was the movie that got Aja noticed among the horror community, as represented by the fact that Craven hand-picked him to direct the remake. Haute Tension was a movie that didn't cave in to achieve a teenage audience, and for once, an idea that was truly an original. And, for that, I guess you could say the movie resurrected something that had been missing in horror movies since the release of The Ring in 2002...originality.
The opening begins in a setting that looks almost like Mars, where some research on the effects of nuclear weapons on the environment is being done. The story about the nuclear testing goes back to the period of 1943-1962, where the US supposedly tested nuclear weapons around the area of New Mexico. This form of testing was outlawed in 1962, but testing continued underground until 1992. Anyway, before the researchers can get their finish, however, they are all savagely and brutally murdered, starting the movie off very well.
The movie begins to slow down, however, as we join the Carter family on their trip to California. Big Bob Carter, the father and obvious leader of the family, played very well Ted Levine, decides that the family needs to see the desert, rather than driving on the highway all the way down to California. On their way through the desert, however, they are directed to take a shortcut by a gas station owner, in what is obviously a set-up, even if you haven't seen the original. Of course, they are sabotaged, their tires are popped, and they end up crashing the car into a rock, stranding them in the middle of the desert. It is here that the movie begins to pick up pace yet again, as Big Bob Carter and his son-in-law, Doug, played by Aaron Stafford, who also shines through with his role, begin to get into it a bit, showing their frustration and the obvious difference in their characters.
With the family stranded, the two go for help, and this leads up to the biggest scene in the movie, the scene where the mutants attack the family's trailer. This scene is directed very well, and shows the brutality and quickness with which the movie delivers it's fright. It begins with the family being taken away from the trailer when finding Big Bob tied to a tree, burning to death. As this is going on, Brenda Carter, played well by Emilie de Raven, is being raped by two of the mutants. The family comes back to the trailer after hearing their family member's screams, but this only leads to the Lynne, Doug's wife, and Ethel, Brenda's mother, being gunned down in what is a very quick scene. This scene just symbolizes what the movie is all about, nothing is really dragged out and all of it is just so blunt and to the point, which is what the original was.
The movie continues to pick up pace for the last half of the movie, as Doug goes in search of his baby, which had been kidnapped in the trailer scene. He reaches the mutants' town, which has a very cool look to it, and in his hunt for his baby becomes the unlikely savior of the film. At the beginning of the film he seemed like the last person that would be hunting down mutants, but his quest to get his child back shows two things. First, it displays the dramatic change in his character from the beginning of the film. This may have always been in him, but it took a situation this desperate for him to become the savior he is at the end of the movie. Second, it also shows what a parent will do when their child is in danger, to a very extreme extent, of course.
While I do agree that Aja may have had a bit of an advantage over Wes Craven in the fact that his actors were all a lot more experienced than in the original, it is still quite an accomplishment for him to create a remake that was just as good as the original, especially when the original was directed by Wes Craven. As a matter of fact, the acting wasn't even what I was truly impressed with. What really stood out for me was the environments that Aja created. From the beauty of the hills and desert around our characters to the grittiness of how our characters, especially Doug, looked at the end of the movie, after battling with the mutants. He just portrayed so much on-screen to us, through the bluntness of some of the death scenes, or through the obvious frustration and desperation that the family was feeling. He portrayed that all on screen and di it very well.
Through this movie, Alexandre Aja has solidified his name as one of the new premier directors of the horror movie genre. While I enjoyed Haute Tension, Aja's remake of The Hills Have Eyes proved to me that Aja knows what the horror genre is all about. This movie proved that he can hang with the legends of the horror genre and I must say, my skepticism eliminated, Aja's version of The Hills Have Eyes was just as good as Wes Craven's orginal."
"There ain't nuthin' to see in the desert."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 07/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This past weekend I saw film critic Roger Ebert and the other guy he does a show with talking about the worst films of 2006 (so far), and one of them on their list was The Hills Have Eyes (2006), which is actually a remake of a 1977 movie made by Wes Craven. Roger's biggest gripe seemed to be the film was too `by the numbers' (it is a remake), and he would have preferred more character development in the antagonists (Roger, they're radiated, grotesque, cannibalistic mutants...what else do you need to know?). Co-written and directed by Alexandre Aja (High Tension), the film features Dan Byrd (A Cinderella Story), Emilie de Ravin ("Roswell", "Lost"), Aaron Stanford (X-Men: The Last Stand), Kathleen Quinlan (Lawn Dogs), Ted Levine (Heat, "Monk"), and Vinessa Shaw (Corky Romano). Also appearing is Tom Bower (Die Hard 2), Robert Joy (Land of the Dead), Desmond Askew ("Roswell"), and Billy Drago (The Untouchables, Freeway).
The movie begins by telling us that between 1945 and 1962 the United States performed over three hundred atmospheric nuclear tests in the American southwest, and has yet to own up to the possibility of any negative genetic effects that may have resulted. Soon after we see some gooberment men in radiation suits performing various radiation checks in a desert in New Mexico, only to get seriously jacked by someone with a pickaxe. Following this bit of nastiness we see a large family traveling cross-country through the desert, stopping off at a dilapidated filling station in the middle of nowhere. There's Big Bob (Levine), his wife Ethel (Quinlan), their children Bobby (Byrd), Brenda (de Ravin), and Lynn (Shaw), her husband Doug (Stanford), their baby Catherine, two German Shepherds, two parakeets, and a partridge in a pear tree (a decent sized pool of potential victims is always appreciated)...anyhow, the old man (Bower), working the service station, lets Big Bob in on a shortcut, one that turns out to be anything but as Bob ends up crashing his Suburban into a giant rock after a mysterious blowout of all four tires. Big Bob and Doug try to go for help, each going in separate directions. Soon after Doug returns (he came up empty), the unpleasantness begins...you see, these here deserts are populated not only by snakes, coyotes, and scorpions, but also by hideously deformed, homicidal mutants with a hankering for fresh meat and a penchant for violence. Things get particularly nasty as Big Bob returns (sort of), comely Brenda makes some new friends, Bobby freaks out, some characters bow out of the production, and the mutants abscond with Catherine (babies are good eatin', I guess). As those remaining try to pull it together (the mutants said they'd be back), Doug, armed with a bitey dog and a baseball bat, goes off in search of Catherine and ends up finding a whole mess of trouble as he makes his way to mutant central...
Overall I thought this remake a very slick and intense entry in the survival horror genre, one that does get extremely messy at times, so if you can't stomach scene of extreme violence (the piercing of flesh with sharp implements, blood spurting, etc.), you might want to skip this movie (the unrated version has like two extra minutes of violence, bits originally cut to secure an `R' rating). One aspect I liked is the movie seemed to try and stay true to Craven's original, while adding a lot of extra material in terms of the mutants (here we get more of a back story as to who they were and how they came about). There were a couple of parts that did bug me though, the first being when Big Bob and Doug are preparing to go for help. Big Bob, a former police detective, gives Bobby a gun (supposedly Bobby's been trained in the use of firearms), and Bobby proceeds to joking point the gun at Doug. Now I've never handled a firearm, but I do know one thing...you never point a loaded weapon at someone unless you're willing to shoot them (I don't care if the safety is on). Not only that, but no one said anything, especially not Big Bob, who wasn't all that fond of Doug, but still...the other bit that annoyed me was when Big Bob got to the filling station and some stuff went down. At one point he begins firing blindly into the dark, which seemed really stupid and a waste of valuable ammunition, especially given he was supposed to be a hardened veteran of some police force...oh well...I did learn a number of things from this film including the following...
1. There are no shortcuts in the desert. 2. There's a real shortage of non-radiated, hot, young women out in the desert, making them extremely coveted. 3. Babies are juicy. 4. Desert mutants can imitate dog sounds really well. 5. Whiny cell phone salesmen are a lot tougher than I would have thought. 6. There are some serious economic opportunities to be had in opening a dentistry practice in the desert. 7. Dogs desire payback just as much as humans. 8. While years of exposure to atomic radiation can make you deformed and ugly as sin, it can also make you ridiculously strong and difficult to kill. 9. Bobby can't shoot for spit. 10. Doug, the guy who hates guns, wields that boomstick like a pro. 11. Nuclear test houses built by the military aren't all that solid. 12. Movie dogs will run off every chance they get. 13. Chevrolet Suburbans are quite roomy, enough so to store a few corpses. 14. Desert mutants are well organized. 15. Bobby might be able to run faster if he pulled his damn pants up. 16. Doug stole that `feigning helplessness and then jabbing a sharp implement in the foot of your attacker' bit from the movie True Romance (1993).
I thought all the performers did well, and I really liked how once things got going, the action rarely let up. I didn't really get too much into the amount of violence or many of the specifics within my review as not to spoil any of the shocks for those who haven't had a chance to watch the film, but know things do get nasty. I did see a few scenes taken from other films (besides the original film) scattered throughout, possibly indicating the writers influences, and perhaps they could have done a better job in not making their usage as obvious as it was, but then again the movie industry tends to be in the business of recycling, so it's probably best not to get too hung up on this aspect.
The picture quality, presented in widescreen (2.35:1) anamorphic looks very sharp and the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio comes through clearly (it's also available in Spanish Dolby Digital Surround 2.0). Included are English, Spanish, and French subtitles, a commentary track with co-writer/director Alexandre Aja, art director/co-writer Grégory Levasseur, and producer Marianne Maddalena, a second commentary track with producers Wes Craven and Peter Locke (both of whom behind the original film), a `making of' featurette titled `Surviving the Hills', production diaries, and a music video for the song `Leave the Broken Hearts', by The Finalist.
By the way, I saw on the IMDb that Alexandre Aja is signed up to make a sequel to this movie, scheduled for a 2007 release...I hope it turns out better than the sequel for the original film. "
If you like "Blood and guts," this is for you! A good remak
Betty L. Dravis | Silicon Valley, CA | 11/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't claim to be an expert about producers, directors, movies, and which remake is better than what remake. I just know I like horror--the new, more realistic kind AND the old cult classic kind--with all the accompanying gore common to this genre.
This movie has enough gore to satisfy even the most hard-core horror addict, but if you're at all queasy, this movie is not for you. But I loved it. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time; it was THAT exciting. The mutant, deformed killers, a product of government bomb-testing in the New Mexico desert, were masterpieces of make-up artistry ... what real monsters are supposed to look like. Terrifying.
The poor family who gets stranded in the desert are terrorized by these monsters, but they muster their survival skills and stand up to their attackers in true "movie hero" fashion.
Do they all survive? Of course not; this is horror, after all, and the more victims the better ...the more blood and guts the better.
The actors were well-suited for the roles they played, but I felt let-down by the non-closure at the ending. Then when I learned there would be a sequel ... well, that explained it. I can live with that.
This movie was filmed in 2006, and I saw it for the first time last night (on DVD). I told my son what I was watching and he told me the sequel is even better. I plan to run to the video store and enjoy back-to-back HILLS ... with a huge bowl of buttered pop-corn.
Join me, anyone?
P. Skinner | Australia | 07/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Oh My God!!! I was very dubious about this remake as I wasn't that impressed with the original but two minutes into the film I realised I was in for something not quite normal. The suspense and gore in this unrated version is relentless and very in your face....not for the sqeamish and I must admit during the scenes where the family are being terrorised I was at the point of shedding tears. I watched this alone on my lounge room wall until the last quarter of the film where my Dad joined me. Even though he hadn't seen the first half of the film he sat riveted to the screen and I don't think he believed exactly what he was witnessing. Ten times better than "Hostel".....and ten times more graphic.. Enjoy"