According to the movie tagline, “the lucky ones die first.” Apparently this also applies to the audience.
The Hills Have Eyes,, the remake of Wes Craven’s 1977 movie, is a 107-minute, dragged-out, overdrawn monstrosity of a movie (no pun intended). A family of six (plus a baby) is stranded in the middle of the New Mexico desert. The the premise is that the U.S. government was testing nuclear weapons in the desert of the American southwest and many families and mining communities refused to move, thus becoming victims to the radiation fall-out.
What results is a small town of people that look very similar to Photoshop pranks I used to pull when I was editor of my high school yearbook.
The plot starts out simple enough. Like most horror movies, our wholesome Midwest family is stranded in the desert after wrecking their car. It’s Mom and Dad’s silver wedding anniversary and they are accompanied by their three children, as well as their eldest daughter’s husband and baby. Dad is an ex-cop and all-American, red-white-and-blue dad, mom is the typical witless housewife, followed by housewife daughter #1, her Democrat husband, self-absorbed middle daughter, and fiery teenage son. How cute.
The number one rule of “family” horror flicks – don’t get too attached to Mom and Pop. May as well say good-bye to them right now.
An hour later, we’re still lost in the desert. Dad gets tied to a tree and set on fire (it was at this point in the movie I realized, hey, today is my dad’s birthday); Mom gets shot, a brutal and needless rape scene ensues (proving that Sloth from The Goonies actually has a sex drive); and someone gets shot in the head, violating some pretty considerable horror movie rules: people aren’t shot for no feasible reason. At this point, I’m beginning to realize this movie is a waste of time and $7.50.
Family German Shepherd #1 is eaten by one of the nuclear freaks, while German Shepherd #2 is missing. What a surprise. All this for a breed of dog known for being able to kick ass. Of course, the idiot child must chase after the dog. Gee. Wonder what’ll happen next.
Ultimately, we find the “test village” used by the government where the freaks still live. This is the only reason I even wanted to see this movie – that is, if I can actually remember the reason any more – and it only took an hour and a half to get to this point. We never really figure out what the freaks want; it’s not the family’s fault that the miner families refused to move after the government ordered them to, nor is it fair to assume that the wholesome Midwest family had anything to do with what happened. But then again, we’re dealing with freaks, so they have no discernible logic.
Neither does the plot.
At this point in the movie, I became enthralled with seeking out split ends in my hair.
Kid Brother and Democrat, beatnik son-in-law ultimately save the day. Lots of blood has been shed, the American flag is desecrated at one point, we find that Sloth from The Goonies can have another paycheck, and we realize what the ultimate moral of the movie is: don’t mess with Democrats.
I’ll say it – I like Wes Craven. I have enjoyed a number of his movies in the past (Red Eye, the Scream trilogy, The People Under the Stairs), so I held out hope. I was apparently mistaken. The plot takes entirely too long to unfold, despite the fact that the idea had great potential. We don’t know why the freaks are so brutal to the outside world, nor do we understand what benefit a crotchety old gas station employee at the beginning of the movie serves to them. (He ultimately shoots his brains out, for which I actually envied him.)
If you like gory horror movies with no plot and no logic, enjoy this movie with gusto. For those who like to employ brain cells, don’t bother.
The plot has absolutely no depth, nor do the characters. The violence is gratuitous at best. (Not that I’d expect much else from a horror movie.) The teenagers sitting next to me were dry-humping. And I decided that I need a haircut.
The most entertaining part of this movie was the long bathroom break I took in the middle of it. I doubt I missed anything anyway.
Don’t waste your time or money on this movie. Rather, go do something more beneficial, like drink toxic waste. Maybe then you’ll understand what the freaks’ point was, because I sure as hell didn’t.