The Hills Have Eyes II

You also have eyes. Use them to watch something else. Anything else. Pleeeeease...

Released in 2007, certified UK-18. Reviewed on 08 Apr 2007 by Craig Eastman
The Hills Have Eyes II image

It should be glaringly obvious to anyone who has visited our humble website more than a couple of times that here at OneLiner Towers we harbour an intense displeasure toward needless horror remakes. In fact the only thing we dislike more than a needless horror remake is an exponentially more needless horror remake sequel, even if it's predecessor was, at the risk of damning with faint praise, the best of an incredibly bad bunch that particular year. And so we find ourselves staring down the barrel of The Hills Have Eyes II with some measurable resignation toward the fact that this trend of pointless tedium probably hasn't even reached it's peak as of yet.

No fan of Wes Craven's original The Hills Have Eyes, I nonetheless found myself almost enjoying it's 2006 remake at the hands of writer-director Alexandre Aja for the slick, well-paced and satisfyingly brutal little shocker that it was. Even at that there was no need for a continuation of this perfectly self-contained story, yet Craven and son Jonathan have seen fit to hammer out a suitably tawdry revision of daddy's own earlier work which has, unfortunately for all involved, landed on the doorstep of former music video director Martin Weisz. Be still, my beating heart. Clearly happiest working within the remit of telling a story inside a three minute window of opportunity, Weisz's attempts to stretch both himself and his narrative result in a woefully misjudged spectacle of wanton nastiness.

Sector 16, the abandoned nuclear test site of the first film, is once again the focus of military attention, with a team of soldiers and scientists apparently researching the presence of some remaining mutants. Drawing terse parallels with the insurgency in Iraq, The Hills Have Eyes II is horror masquerading as political statement of the worst possible kind, with our lurching antagonists now popping in and out of caves for a feast whenever some willfully stupid oaf saunters past. Quite what the Cravens' script is trying to say by offering this analogy is lost on me, as any pretence of intelligent commentary is clearly as shallow as a tinker's bath. It's a wonder the costume designers didn't see fit to wrap a towel around every deformed head and be done with it.

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Into this flimsy scenario come a unit of National Guard soldiers who soon find themselves on a search and rescue mission, firstly to recover the CO of the operation before quickly turning attention to saving their own sorry arses. It's certainly not an overly elaborate setup, and indeed the best horror premises tend to spin out from such basic beginnings, but as is so often the case these days it's less an exercise in efficiency than a function of sheer stupidity. So vacuous are the assembled soldiers that it's hard to even switch sides and cheer the mutants as they pop out of their caves, despatching the rookies one by one, and no; I'm not missing the point of any political statement highlighting the moral ambiguity currently being perpetrated in Iraq because that's all bullshit to begin with.

From start to finish The Hills Have Eyes II is an excuse to shed blood of the cheapest, nastiest kind. Clearly hoping to shock from the outset with it's needlessly graphic birth scene, Weisz bombards the audience (no doubt already realising their costly mistake in parting with hard cash for a ticket) with senseless act of brutality after senseless act of brutality, somehow managing to leave his efforts shorn of even the most basically gratifying visceral involvement. As far as excuses for shockers go this is no less worthy a candidate than any number of similarly senseless gore vehicles, but for it to be so entirely hamstrung by ineptitude at every conceivable level and still find it's way into cinemas is truly an achievement indeed.

You can bleat on about themes and messages all you want but you can't polish a turd, and at the end of the day the only statement of any worth this film proves to be a messenger of is the fact that Wes Craven needs to be tied up in a sack and thrown in the nearest river. The man's work, if it can be called that, has long since lost any of the already terse credibility bestowed upon the likes of Last House On The Left by those who saw fit, and now stands as testament to the lamentable state of modern horror cinema. A thinly plotted endeavour in filth and grotesquery will never a decent movie make, least of all this shambling, monolithic mound of festering monkey shit. I really hope at least one person will read this review and change their mind about investing any time in this movie, for it will most truly have been worth my limited effort.

1 out of 5 Disko Units, and by god that's being generous.

Martin Weisz
Cast list:
Michael McMillan (PFC David 'Napoleon' Napoli)
Jessica Stroup (PFC Amber Johnson)
Daniella Alonso (PFC 'Missy' Martinez)
Jacob Vargas (PFC 'Crank' Medina)