The Hills Have Eyes (2006)


Pros
  • One of the most brutal movies out there (if you are into that sort of thing)
  • Very fast paced once the action gets going (fast paced for today's audience with limited attention spans)
  • Unexpected 'final girl'
  • For how heavy the movie relies on its graphics, they are thankfully up to par
  • More of an 'action-horror' movie than anything else
  • Realistic family dynamics
  • Certainly far fetched at times but it still makes you wonder how you personally would handle the frightful situation
  • The movie is just all around entertaining because of how quickly the movie moves
  • Easily one of the better horror remakes of all time (sorry Wes Craven)

Cons
  • Animal deaths always hurt the most
  • Could have used a bit more tension or suspense at times vs carnage
  • The brother's 'nomad ideas' are a bit unrealistic at times (but that might be the point since he is the 'young' one)
  • So they capture a guy and then leave him completely alone in an easily escapable situation?

Score: 7/10

This is a review of the unrated version of the movie (the one not shown in theaters). According to sources, the unrated version has around 60 +/- seconds of addition footage (mostly violent content). Thought I'd share that tidbit in case anyone was curious!

While many might have stopped reading by now because of the amount of high violent content, I have to admit I was entertained throughout the vast majority of the movie. It all sort of stems from how well you can sympathize with those being tormented. I personally found the family dynamics totally worked, siblings acted bittersweet to one another, the father was dead on (arrogant and the man with a plan), and together they felt real. Even if at times some of them were unlikable they still felt like the typical squad. Put them in a very tense situation by Mr. Aja and you have a fast-paced mutant thriller.

This is an action-horror movie plan and simple. Characters fight against the mutants multiple times, they make traps, traps go off, chases ensue, one-on-one fight scenes, and many more aspects that make this an action type movie. There is little suspense to mention outside of first few scenes were the mutants move unnoticed. That being said, it was a pretty enjoyable film (as long as you can handle the violence) because of how fast paced the movie is. And by fast paced I mean once the carnage starts and the mutants make their presences known, the movie doesn't let up till the final image. This is a movie that creates its scares by visuals, from the grotesque looking mutants to the over the top gore displayed on the screen. So for me, the movie wasn't scary at all.

So are you going to find this movie on a list of best horror movies of the past XX-amount years? Probably not, mostly because the movie substitutes suspense for gnarly imagery and in your face violence (which a lot of people aren't down with). That's not to say the movie is bad, but Aja (director) knows what he was going for with this one and who his target audience is (gore hounds). The Hills Have Eyes was created for those people who want visual stimuli and unrelenting violence, and the movie succeeds as such.

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