I wasn’t sure what I expected from this movie. I thought last year’s The Hills Have Eyes remake was pretty enjoyable. Not horrible, but one of the better horror remakes from the past few years. It had a good cast, good director, and had a good fright or two. Shocking, even, in some moments. When I heard a sequel was being rushed out based on the success of the original, I was a bit surprised. The movie was a modest success, but enough to warrant a sequel with thin ties, at best, to the original? Given how the market for horror movies is slowly changing, I was expecting it to be a hit . . . and I was right. It promptly crashed and burned, and now it’s bleeding onto DVD in all its’ Unrated glory.
The Hills Have Eyes 2 follows a group of rookie National Guard soldiers who come across a deserted research facility in the middle of nowhere. When a distress signal is located in a distant mountain range, a search and rescue mission commences, leading them straight into the clutches of a deranged group of cannibalistic mutants and a relentlessly brutal fight for their lives. This time, the mutant patriarch isn’t just looking for a quick bite – he needs female breeders to continue his family line! The sequel to the 2006 horror re-make, which grossed over $41 million at the domestic box office, is written by horror legend Wes Craven and Jonathan Craven and directed by Martin Weisz.
The movie opens with a shocking and very graphic birth scene, as a captive woman is giving birth to a one of the mutated creatures. After the baby is literally ripped out of her, she is promptly killed. It’s disturbing, gross, and . . . well . . . just wrong. What it has to do with the remainder of the movie, I don’t know. I can only assume the mutated creature that kills her is the “mutant patriarch,” who we see . . . ugh . . . raping another innocent woman later in the movie. After the birth sequence and opening credits, we are introduced to a group of inept National Guard soldiers who are sent to investigate a science expedition in a deserted mountain range. They, naturally, end up with more than they bargained for. As you can expect, people die, a handful survive, and there’s an ominous ending that tells us that there’s room for more stories starring our favorite cannibalistic mutated radioactive creatures.
All in all, the movie is nothing special. Given the glut of horror movies, be it the lovingly labeled “torture porn,” the gory kind, the light PG-13 fare, etc, this movie just seems like another “Here we go again!” flick, with nothing new added to the already crowded marketplace. On top of that, half of the movie is damn near unwatchable since it takes place inside an abandoned mine shaft. I’ll admit to finding the The Hills Have Eyes remake watchable, but this tested even my patience. However, these movies do have their fans and no doubt, they’ll eat it up. I’m just not one of them, and I didn’t find this movie all that enjoyable. It seems like a pretty pointless installment, as I’d rather see the continuation of the first film, then a new story based loosely connected to the first. Inept Nation Guard soldiers versus the mutants? No thanks.
But can the DVD be saved? Well, the film is presented in widescreen (2.35:1) with English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French & Spanish Dolby Surround plus English and Spanish subtitles. Overall, the video and audio transfer is great. Sure, it’s hard to make out what’s going on from time to time, but that’s due mostly to where the film takes place. The extras are also pretty standard. We get a handful of deleted scenes, a bizarre alternate ending, a “Exploring the Hills: The Making of The Hills Have Eyes 2” Featurette, a “Life After Film School with Wes Craven” featurette, a “Mutant Attacks” Featurette, a featurette on the graphic novel, a strange Gag Reel, and your usual trailers. All in all . . . nothing new, but nice added content for fans of the The Hills Have Eyes franchise.
The gruesome and startling birth scene that kicks off the film sets the tone for the remainder and, frankly, I didn’t enjoy it. This release gets a Skip It for me. The movie is full of missed opportunities, falling back on a tired story of inept soldiers, who suddenly turn all “Rambo” when the script calls for it, versus superhuman mutated creatures. I believe the story should have followed the remaining family from the The Hills Have Eyes 2006 remake, since we, as an audience, are already connected to their plight, not the plight of these soldiers. The DVD has a nice set of extra features that fans of the movie will enjoy, but this flick just didn’t deliver for me.
The Hills Have Eyes 2 is now available on DVD.