There are remakes and then there are remakes that slit you across your throat and leave you to spill your own blood. The Hills Have Eyes is one of the most shocking horror films in a long time.
After the non American success of High Tension, French director Alexandre Aja was recruited to film an American remake to the 1977 Wes Craven classic The Hills Have Eyes. Wes Craven was even attached to the project as a producer. Following the storyline of the original somewhat closely, Aja’s remake follows more about a story that involves nuclear testing by today’s government leaving radioactive fallout. As the opening of the movie begins we get a feeling like we are on a deserted planet. We watch a brutal attack on a few men in radioactive suits as they get bludgeoned with a pick axe and carried away. Our next introduction is to the family we recognize from the original.
We have the retired cop as the father, the stay at home Mom, the tough but yet overwhelmed brother, two sisters that are two sugars away from tasting like a bag of chewy sweet tarts and the sensitive boyfriend. The movie begins to slow down as the characters are introduced. However, as we join the Carter family on their trip to California, Big Bob Carter, the father and leader of the family, 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, they stop for gas at a dilapidated gas station where the family takes a break from driving to discover that a few things are not right off the bat. As they leave they are given a shortcut by the local tenant to go through the hills to cut off time and make the trip quicker. Of course they are sabotaged, a strip of spikes are laid across the road and blows out the tires to the trailer and causes them to crash into a rock and break the axles of the trailer. They are soon stranded in the middle of the violent dessert.
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, like a couple of school girls arguing about who gives better head on a Friday night. With the entire family stranded the two go look for help. As the two were gone this is where the biggest and yet most disturbing scene of the movie hits you in the face.
The mutant attacks the family without any notice. The scene is directed well and it’s where the movie scores on the fright meter. The scene begins after Big Bob (The Father) is beaten to a pulp and tied to a tree and lit on fire by the mutants. As Bob’s body is burning, sister Brenda is being raped by two of the mutants. It’s a sickening scene because Emile de Raven was so very believable she made it work, but yet I felt very guilty for watching it. The family hears her screams and comes running to the trailer. Her sister Lynn was the first on scene and swings a frying pan to one of the mutants knocking him down but to no avail he pulls a gun on her telling her to expose her voluptuous breast so he could feed on them like the baby. With his rotting flesh buried around her feeding exits like a vacuum sucking up dirt the sisters and mother come into the trailer and are gunned down in what is a very quick scene. This scene just symbolizes what the movie is all about; Fear and Terror. Nothing is really dragged out and all of it is just so blunt and to the point, which is what the original was.
I’m not going to give much more away but the last few scenes are the icing on the cake. An explosion back at the trailer where Brenda and Bobby were staying put to Doug battling Jupiter in a frenzy of attacks that lead into a stabbing with the end of a broken baseball bat, to axes cutting off fingers, a screw driver through the throat and the violent use of the American flag. The blood oozes in the scenes and gives the gorehounds a real arousal.
Through this movie it’s evident Alexandre Aja has strongly put his name on the horror 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, I’m very thrilled of his accomplishments. Aja’s version of The Hills Have Eyes in my very own heart throbbing opinion is just as good as Wes Cravens original.
I Am What I Say I Am “RATED R” [JohnnyHorror]
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