There was a sequel to the original Hills in 1985 that had race-bound bikers busing their way across the desert and ending up stranded. This far bloodier version of the sequel has National Guard trainees on a routine mission falling into the hands of our favorite deformed mutants in the same desert as the unfortunate family in the 2006 movie.
The characters are cookie-cutter military types: a hothead sergeant (Flex Alexander), a mild-mannered nice guy (Michael McMillan), cocky loudmouths (Jacob Vargas and Lee Thompson Young), and swimsuit models (Jessica Stroup and Daniella Alonso). When they arrive at the former nuclear testing area in New Mexico, they discover a team of technicians has disappeared, and begin a search and rescue mission. They then find themselves trapped in the hills with only one way down, through the mutant-inhabited mines.
Like the first film, The Hills Have Eyes II delivers violent sequences featuring dismemberment, disembowelment, splattering brain matter, loud thuds, and creepy stringed instrument melodies. This time around, however, the shock value isn't as profound. The script (written by Wes Craven and his son Jonathan) fails to change the circumstances or raise the stakes of the first film, and thus nothing that occurs is particularly unexpected.
Additionally, director Martin Weisz doesn't seem to realize that graphic violence wasn't the only shock of the first Hills. Alexandre Aja gave his film an emotional resonance. In the original, when the family's parents met gruesome deaths in front of their children, there was emotional shock. Here, the characters (and the actors playing them) seem detached and unconcerned, and there's little emotion involved. Weisz relies entirely on violence and gore.
The Hills Have Eyes II does offer some great chills. It has a creepy atmosphere and startling moments. The makeup and special effects are grotesquely impressive, and anyone in decent mental health will think twice about cruising through the desert for a long while after watching the film. It just seems like Hills 2 could have been more than a pale shadow of the original if the filmmakers had taken their time instead of rushing out a sequel one year after the original.
Aka The Hills Have Eyes 2.
The hills have eyes, but we have a machine gun.
Run time: 89 mins
In Theaters: Friday 23rd March 2007
Box Office USA: $20.8M
Distributed by: Fox Atomic
Production compaines: Craven-Maddalena Films, Dune Entertainment, Fox Atomic
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 11%
Fresh: 7 Rotten: 59
IMDB: 5.1 / 10
Director: Martin Weisz
Screenwriter: Jonathan Craven, Wes Craven
Starring: Michael Bailey Smith as Papa Hades, Archie Kao as Han, Jay Acovone as Wilson, Jeff Kober as Redding, Philip Pavel as Foster, David Reynolds as Hansel, Tyrell Kemlo as Stabber, Lee Thompson Young as Delmar, Daniella Alonso as Missy, Eric Edelstein as Spitter, Jessica Stroup as Amber, Joseph Beddelem as Insurgent, Cécile Breccia as Pregnant Woman, Jacob Vargas as Crank, Ben Crowley as Stump
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