The Hills Have Eyes 2 review, The Hills Have Eyes 2 DVD review

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The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007) starno starno starno starno star Starring: Jessica Stroup, Reshad Strik, Michael McMillian, Daniella Alonso, Lee Thompson Young, Ben Crowley, Jacob Vargas, Flex Anderson
Director: Martin Weisz
Rating: R
Category: Horror

Fox Atomic sounded great in theory. Form an entirely new studio based solely on the production of low budget, genre-specific movies that would take advantage of the current horror craze. Unfortunately, it hasn’t quite worked out like anyone had hoped. “Turistas” quickly proved that the torture porn genre had a short shelf life, while “28 Weeks Later” was an absolute insult to Danny Boyle’s original vision. And then there’s “The Hills Have Eyes 2,” a movie so bad it should have never made it past pre-production. Where Alejandro Aja succeeded in creating a slick recreation of the horror classic, this fast-tracked sequel is a complete waste of time.

The film opens with a pregnant woman naked and chained to the wall. As the child emerges from her womb, it’s ripped out by the umbilical cord and shoved to the side. The woman is then clubbed to death by a mutant cannibal. Ooh, how controversial. Of course, the scene in question doesn’t have anything to do with the actual plot, other than to gross out the viewer in what’s meant to be a pre-credits shocker. The real story at hand follows a group of soldiers-in-training as they investigate a disturbance in the middle of the New Mexico desert, but when the mutant cannibals return to terrorize the latest batch of victims, they’re slowly picked off one-by-one.

Shame on Wes Craven for allowing such drivel to be made. While the horror master has recently mounted a comeback with his involvement in films like “Red Eye,” “Feast” and the first “Hills Have Eyes” remake, he’s taken two massive steps back by co-writing (along with son Jonathan) a by-the-numbers sequel that clearly favors gore over sensible storytelling. And don’t tell me that it can’t be done either, because the 2006 remake (not to mention other recent horror flicks like the UK import “The Descent”) managed to deliver all the blood-spurting violence you could ask for, without compromising its integrity.

At the end of the day, however, “The Hills Have Eyes 2” is just another generic horror flick where a cast of young, up-and-coming soap stars dressed in Army gear are killed off in a series of grotesque, death-by-stupidity casualties that only begs the question, “Are people really this daft?” Of course they aren’t, just as a National Guard unit wouldn’t be comprised of a couple dopey dudes, two women who look more like models than soldiers, and a few other guys who’ve never done a push-up in their lives. This is, without a doubt, one of the dumbest military units in the history of cinema, and the fact that none of them even look like soldiers speaks volumes as to how much time was actually spent in pre-production.

The movie isn’t without its mandatory rape scene, though, or its endless supply of disfigured cannibals who, despite being smarter than their victims, are still pretty darn stupid. Seriously, do these guys just sit around all day waiting to pounce on some unlucky soul? Is one guy actually designed to resemble a rock so that he can lie around in camouflage waiting for some helpless woman to be separated from the pack? Puh-lease. Oh yeah, and one more thing: if you’re a mutant cannibal dude and you’ve just stuck your unusually long, slimy tongue down someone’s throat, you shouldn’t be surprised when that person bites down and rips it out of your mouth. That’s just gross, and, quite frankly, pretty darn rude.

Unrated DVD Review:
The DVD release of “The Hills Have Eyes 2” isn’t nearly as impressive as its predecessor. There’s nothing especially graphic that warrants the unrated label (especially compared to what managed to make the cut for the R-rated theatrical version), and with the exception of a short chat with Wes Craven (“Fox Movie Channel Presents: Life After Film School) and the making-of featurette “Exploring the Hills,” the rest of the bonus material is just filler. An inside look at the “Hills Have Eyes” graphic novel prequel (“Birth of a Graphic Novel”), profiles of all the new mutants, and a handful of deleted scenes (including an alternate ending) round out the single-disc effort, but it’s all just a big waste of space.

~Jason Zingale

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