Fox // 2007 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // November 29th, 2007
There are fates worse than death (yes, that is what's written on the front of the case).
One would presume that because the first Hills Have Eyes film made almost three times its $15 million production budget, the folks at Fox Atomic decided to rush a sequel out to the young crappy horror/torture porn demographic. And a sequel, with another $15 million production budget, made half as much money, so with any luck, a third will not be on the way anytime soon. But as it's out on video and on Blu-ray, is it worth adding to the next gen library?
So Wes Craven, who wrote the first and second films, wrote the remake of the first film, and co-wrote the remake of the second film with his son Jonathan. Martin Weisz, who is a "noted" video and commercial director, took the helm for this incarnation. So in this one, a group of Army soldiers (National Guardsmen, it's explained later) are in a mysterious portion of the desert named "Sector 16." Slowly and surely, there is something in the desert clipping off the GIs one by one. And when they find out what it is, they are brought into a struggle for survival.
With all the horror films on Blu-ray and HD DVD that I've subjected myself to over the last five months, I'd like to think I've developed some sort of tier system when it comes to deciding what's good and what's bad. So when I say that the second Hills Have Eyes film is a turd of little unmatched unoriginality, I think I've got some gravitas with this opinion. As it turns out in the supplements, Wes and Jonathan basically wrote this film in a month to make a studio deadline. So because Fox pushed the deadline on the Cravens, they didn't get a chance to collaborate and bounce ideas off one another and make the story good, so the producers got a crappy version of Ten Little Indians that would be funny if it wasn't so stupid.
And, hey, you'll be surprised to know that the film is sans any recognizable names, although you might spot Jeff Kober from his days as Booga in Tank Girl. But the soldiers are led by a sergeant who spouts all the tired military clichés, and there's one outspoken misfit who throws in an unnecessary statement or two about the Iraq war, automatically dating it and turning it into yet another crappy horror movie. And while we're on the topic, I've implored and pleaded with parents of America, you need to stop giving your teenage sons money to go see this crap. Make them read a book, or let them go to the character-based drama, but the fifth Saw film and the third Hostel film are enough. It's bad enough that studios are trying to mine gold from '80s horror classics that should remain unharmed, like The Hitcher, but this remade sequel of a sequel shite has got to stop. Put your kids in front of the TV and give them films of Altman, Bergman and Kurosawa before someone loses their life, I'm begging you.
Technically, the 2.35:1 widescreen presentation looked pretty good. The benefit is more in the clarity than in the depth, and there's not a lot of color to show, aside from the blood, which is a vivid red without bleeding. How's that for a wordplay, huh? And the DTS HD soundtrack wasn't bad either, the surround activity is pretty ample throughout the piece, and during the initial battle/practice scenes, pulled me into wanting to see more of the film, before it spun out and sucked. Supplements wise, the extras here are the same as the standard def disc. You've got four deleted scenes that run about three minutes total and don't really add anything, along with an alternate ending that's a scene shorter than the theatrical one and seems slightly more "up." An unfunny gag reel follows, along with a piece called "Mutant Attacks," which discusses the difference between the locals this time compared to last, and interviews the actors who play the mutants. The making of piece is your usual cast and crew interview montage with quite a bit of rehearsal footage mixed in with it. Following that is a piece that looks at the graphic novel that was a prequel for the first film, and I guess could be the same principle for the second one, if that makes any sense. But it shows some of the process to get the comic together, so that's nice. Craven sits down with an interview with some film students for 10 minutes, and the trailer for the first film ends it.
The extra material that included Wes was semi-interesting, and if they wanted to make this a disc that was worthy of picking up, they should have included more. Say a commentary or something. But they didn't, it doesn't, Q.E.D., or whatever "that's all there is" means in Latin.
Technically the audio and video are a little better than expected, but the extras are skippable, the acting is admirable albeit dumb, and the story has been done to death. Do yourself a favor and forget that the remakes ever occurred, rent the originals and forget all of this ever happened.
The defendants are sentenced to some lovin' time with Papa Hades, and Craven is sentenced to community service in the hopes that he realizes he should pass on it before taking it again.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (Widescreen)
* DTS HD 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Alternate Ending
* Gag Reel
* "Mutant Attacks" -- Special Effects Reel
* "The Hills Have Eyes -- The Birth of the Graphic Novel"
* "Exploring the Hills -- The Making of The Hills Have Eyes 2"
* Fox Movie Channel's "Life After Film School: Featuring Wes Craven"
* MySpace Site
* Official Site
* Original DVD Verdict Review