The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
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as Brenda Carter
as Bobby Carter
as Doug Wood
as Ethel Carter
as Bob Carter
as Lynne Wood
as Katie Wood
as The Beast
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Critic Reviews for The Hills Have Eyes
One of the prime examples of the what was so fascinating about American horror films in the 1970s.
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Audience Reviews for The Hills Have Eyes
Normally it would be considered treason to remake a 70's "classic" from Wes Craven. In the case of 'The Hills Have Eyes' though, the original is painfully inert and while the runtime is relatively short, the film shambles at a plodding pace. This is a prime example of an underspiced premise that should be plowed further. The transition from day to night is practically instantaneous. The family of soon-to-be-cannibalized victims range from dimwitted (Bobby is deliberately reticent to inform the others that their canine Beauty has been disemboweled and he won't divulge how he bruised his cheek) to hopelessly naïve (the mother mispronounces "may paw" as a distress call into the radio). As for the inbred hooligans at the center, they look like rejects from 'One Million Years B.C.' with tattered loincloths and Hall-and-Oates bouffant hairstyles. Mama could be a Native-American oracle with the beads around her scalp. In other words, it's Motley Crew tribute band and they are never once frighteningly feral. Even the bald Michael Berryman is more clueless and innocuous than volatile. Just because there is a shameless child-in-danger subplot doesn't mean the audience will be manipulated into paroxysmal terror. It's absolutely mystifying why this calamity is so highly praised among the horror elite.
Wes Craven's cult classic reeks of lost potential, and it's due to one factor: the actors are unable to sell the gut-wrenching, truly dreadful moments. The happenings of this plot are the types that make me tear up and wonder if hope is just a stupid distraction in this cruel world. What I really ended up thinking was "OH YEAH, YOU GO DOGGY, YOU BITE THAT ANKLE, SUCK IT CANNIBAL MAN, HAHAHA"
I'll just say right from the start that I am (somewhat) inflating my grade here. I know this film isn't that great, but there's enough stuff here that I liked that I feel warrants a recommendation, especially for genre fans, and those who enjoy old school low budget exploitation schlock. The plot is a typical one: all American family on a road trip out to an inherited silver mine in the desert is assaulted by a family of vicious mutants. It's basically a war of one family against another where the audience is challenged to decide which family ends up being more monstrous than the other given how the fight progresses. That's pretty much it. No real backstory, no real reason for the initial attack, but hey, sometimes more mystery is definitely better, and far scarier. In the case of this film, I think backstory might have helped things. This is Craven's follow up to his landmark debut, and this is once again a gritty and raw horror thriller. Yes, the acting and effects aren't great, but the limitations add to the intensity of the situation. Plus, the music and locales are just downright creepy. The pacing is quite uneven, but once things get going, this is quite a ride. I also have to give props to a film that has one of the most awesome movie dogs ever, as well as a guy being crucified on (of all things) a cactus. Look, the film's a mess and I admitted I'm being kind, but think of it as a necessary stepping stone in the evolution of horror cinema and it's easier to appreciate.
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