(unrated version)

Directed by Martin Weisz
Produced by Wes Craven, Marianne Maddalena, Peter Locke
Written by Wes Craven and Jonathan Craven
Cinematography by Sam McCurdy
Music by Trevor Morris
Cast: Daniella Alonso, Michael McMillian, Jessica Stroup, Jacob Vargas, Lee Thompson Young

2007/90 mins./Color/5.1 Dolby Surround
2.35:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1

Review from the 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment DVD

There was a time when Wes Craven seemed like he cared about creating original, creepy horror films like LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, the original HILLS HAVE EYES, and of course, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. All of that has changed when he and his son wrote THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2. The story is simple. A team of National Guard trainees is ordered to deliver supplies to a group of scientists setting up a monitoring system in the secretive Area 16 deep within the New Mexico Desert. When the trainees arrive, they find the area deserted and decide to search for the missing crew. As they travel deeper into the foothills of the desert, they encounter a band of crazed mutants and must fight to survive.

THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2 is not the remake of the 1985 sequel to the original 1977 HILLS HAVE EYES, but a sequel to the 2006 remake, if that makes sense. The film, as a whole, isn’t up to caliber as last year’s remake, which isn’t saying much in the first place. The movie seems like it should have been released direct-to-DVD considering the poor writing and production. All of the trainee characters are flat and one-dimensional with the basic characteristics found in most war movies. There is the hot-head, the oafish big guy, who, of course, handles the radio, the inept Gomer Pile character, the rugged, harsh sergeant, and so on. To top it off, the characters are incredible stupid and constantly making bad choices. They go off by themselves, chase after other fallen soldiers, lay their weapons down to be stolen, and every other horror gimmick to kill off the characters.

The set design is sub-standard, especially the underground tunnels. Every inch of the tunnels look the same and does nothing to create a brooding sense of suspense. There is no feeling of claustrophobia for the characters and the area is too bright. The soldiers should have been crawling on their stomachs through pitch-black tunnels rather than wandering around with nearly no threat from the mutants.

Wes Craven is obviously more interested in collecting a paycheck rather than creating quality horror movies at this point in his career. Now that THE HILLS HAVE EYES films are done, he can move on to remaking LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, which is in development, and THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, which is still in discussion for remaking. Not long ago, he put his skills to use and created an exciting thriller with RED EYE. Now, he seems to have abandoned his talents and must have typed this script in his sleep. Hopefully, one day Wes Craven will revert back to what him successful and attempt to create an original horror movie that is actually scary.

The 20th Century Fox Entertainment DVD has a nice transfer. The image is clear with no real grain and is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen. The Dolby Surround audio provides a clear mix of the dialogue and music. The off-screen sounds are captured rather well and do offer a sense of suspense in place of the poor production design.

There are several special features on the DVD. The first feature is four deleted scenes, which are completely unnecessary and thankfully were excluded from the final cut. The first deleted scene explains the origin of one of the soldier’s name. The second is two of the soldiers arguing whether to rescue a capture soldier or leave. The third is the soldiers spreading a strange oil-like liquid over their bodies to hide their smell from the mutants. The final scene is a captured female soldier waking up to find a deceased mutated baby lying next to her. All scenes are provided in widescreen with the timecode still on the picture.

The next feature is an alternate ending, which is bizarre and makes little sense, followed by a gag reel with outtakes during the production. Next, is the mutant attacks, which explains the background of the mutants and provides insight into how they differ from the ones in last years remake. The mutants in this film are just band of people rather any type of family. The next feature is about THE HILL HAVE EYES graphic novel, which is interesting, since it explains the origin of the hill people before they mutated and became murderous psychos.

There is the making of THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2, which explains how the make-up artists created the mutants, and the creation of the set. The making of segment includes interviews with the director, Martin Weisz, the make-up artists, the production designer, the producers, and Wes Craven. The last feature is a carefully scripted interview with Wes Craven by three film students. They discuss the film and Craven offers some insight into making horror films.





This Film Features:

Review by Terry Westhoff. All Right Reserved. 2007. ©