Tuesday, May 2, 2006

The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

On a whim, I decided to watch Alexandre Aja's remake of The Hills Have Eyes. I hadn't planned on seeing it, partly because I disliked the original and partly because most remakes suck. I wasn't overly impressed, but I was pretty content with Aja's direction and there are some pretty brutal scenes.

The plot, as if you didn't already know: An All-American family traveling through the desert is terrorized by a family of mutants, deformed from years of radiation from nuclear bomb tests by the U.S. government.

All in all, this was a pretty honest, straight remake. I didn't find overly preachy, as claimed by many a critic. I like my horror to have some social commentary, to not be just blood and guts gore. The movie tries to make the U.S. government "the bad guy" by stating that it displaced people from their homes and when people refused to leave, still tested nuclear weapons in the area causing severe deformations. This almost made it seem like the mutant family deserved their revenge on the All-American family. For a split second, I almost felt sorry for them...that is, until they sliced one of the family's dogs right down the middle. The brutality they force upon the family far outweighs the actions the government ever took against them. The government gave them a choice to leave, but the mutants give no such choice to the stranded family.

I found myself cringing in many parts of the film, as it took a pretty unflinching look at the terror the family goes through. The rape scene with both sisters in the trailer was quite disturbing, as was the one with the father being burned alive (these scenes occur simultaneously). When the remaining members of the All-American family take their revenge, I was cheering them on.

Aja did a great job of cutting the hokey scenes in the original, such as the mutants running and running and oh more running (in broad daylight) towards the family's encampment while heightening the tension. I was definitely more frightened this time around, especially watching it all alone.

I appreciated how Aja stuck close to the original film, almost scene for scene. While this may seem like it would make the film predictable for those who have seen the original, I wasn't bored at all. I still felt a great deal of tension despite the fact that I knew what would happen next.

Aja's version of The Hills Have Eyes isn't anything new, but it is an improved version of the original with more brutality, honesty and scares.

Order it on Amazon!

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