Directed by: Michael Weisz.
Starring: Jessica Stroup, Daniella Alonso, Michael McMillian, Jacob Vargas.
It all restarted in 2006 with Alexandre Aja's remake of Wes Craven's cult classic The Hills Have Eyes. Aside from being some of the most clichéd material in years, it was reasonably tense, unrelenting, graphic, atmospheric and very entertaining. Now comes a sequel (quite quickly I might add), the bad reviews pored there way in and I automatically clicked onto how this film will be....dull and derivative with no other redeeming qualities....I was slightly wrong.
The story follows 2 years after the remake where the original nuclear testing ground full of mutants is unknown to many and only known as Section 16. When a group of trainee National Guards are sent in to give supplies to scientists installing a monitoring system, they soon find the place to be deserted, the scientist dead or missing and before long, they realize the horrible truth behind this place. Although the film is no where near as brilliant as it could have very easily been, the script written by legend Wes Craven and his brother Jonathan makes things basic but reasonably intriguing....at least for the first 10 minutes. It starts with a birth and we get a basic idea of how everything is kept going behind these hills, from there we are shown the true brutality that these mutants can deliver, even more so than the first....but from there, the characters are introduced and it goes downhill. What follows is carbon copy. The 'National Guards' or basically military are typical cardboard cutouts, you have the addition of women who are tough but hot, the macho Latino, the slightly more cautious outcast, the list goes on. None of these characters have souls and they are played by there unknown TV cast with nothing more than mediocrity, with some being laughably bad. Although some ideas show a bit of brain activity, what follows plot-wise is a rehash of many other films, from The Descent to Aliens. Adding newbie Michael Weisz, a music video director to the plate doesn't really change much, I like the fact that Wes is giving someone new a chance but he does not have the chops to pull it off. Not only does he cover every common and very predictable scare (you know.....BOO!), he doesn't have the skill to build any tension or atmosphere.
I bet your asking yourself, why a 3 rating after what I just said? I was somehow entertained. I usually seem to enjoy a dull gory film among many, sort of a guilty pleasure. What made me enjoy this was the fast pacing and the really graphic, nonstop gore and it kept me watching for its very short running time.
Usually I have a knact for noticing some of the most clichéd films, when I see them I never, ever be nice about them and write a review about them as I see fit. With The Hills Have Eyes 2, I really expected an absolutely terrible, dull and terribly clichéd sequel, but I was slightly surprised. Although full of cliché, a rehashed plot, cardboard characters and a lack of real scares, tension and atmosphere to really call it a good 'horror' film, The Hills Have Eyes 2 is fast, graphic and quite an entertaining 80 minutes worth. Just shut your brain off....and then hope that they don't make another.