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Hills Have Eyes 2, The

dir: Martin Weisz
[img_assist|nid=755|title=It's horror, but in the sense that it's a horrible waste of time watching it|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=301|height=445]
Wow. The sequel no-one except for mutants was crying out for has become a reality.

Did you have a hankering to watch ‘normal’ people be hunted down, raped and eaten by mutants in the New Mexico desert? Quiver in thy flesh no longer, depraved meatbags, the sequel is here to satisfy your cravings.

I like horror movies, lest anyone think I watch flicks like this against my will, with gun pointed headward or whilst stretched across a waterboard. But I don’t enjoy most of them: the main reason being that they’re crap and insulting to the intelligence. Most horror flick makers have unutterable, venomous contempt not for their actors and stunt people, but for their audiences. Also, just like most flicks ever made, formula and familiarity trump originality and thought almost every time.

So whilst The Hills Have Eyes 2, being a brilliant name for such a thing, isn’t the crappiest horror flick to come out this year (that honour probably resides with The Hitcher or Georgia Rules probably), it’s pretty unnecessary.

Just as a bit of a puzzle, this flick is a sequel to the remake of the Wes Craven 70s ‘classic’ that came out last year directed by Alexandre Aja, but it is not a remake of the sequel made to the original back in the 80s. You with me on this one?

No, that lofty masterpiece still awaits remaking. And remade it must be, for what else could anyone remake? Rob Zombie just remade Halloween, and the Friday the 13th remake is in the works already, so there’s nothing else. Maybe Herbie the Love Bug. Maybe War and Peace. Maybe Cannibal the Musical.

Whatever. This flick isn’t a remake: there’s even less thought put into it than a remake would require. Instead it’s essentially the same as the first flick, with a different group of victims. Some are whitebread, some are Hispanic, some are black. Oh, what a multiculturally diverse smorgasbord they represent. All they needed was some Asians and they’d have an entire food court.

A group of National Guardsmen, including two female soldiers, undergo training in the New Mexico hills. But little do they know that those Hills have Eyes, eyes mutated by the nuclear testing that used to occur back when the Cold War was all the rage. These mutants, the descendents of the miners who refused to leave when the explosions began, prey on people for a number of reasons.

They need food, they need entertainment, and, as the hideous opening birth scene shows us, they need females in order to increase their mutant numbers.

So, for 80 or so minutes, we watch the guard numbers dwindle as fast moving, fairly ugly mutants pop out of nowhere and kill the dopey weekend warriors with relative ease. Then the mutants grab a female, so that raises the stakes even higher.

Why rape is such a mainstay of these films is a question I think we have to ask Wes Craven, for whom these flicks required a certain formula back in the 70s. His Hills and Last House on the Left movies used hideous violence and sexual assault as cornerstones in a way that would shame even Aussie Rules football teams on their best weekends out on the town.

Why it needs to be repeated these days is a mystery to me.

In terms of gore and actual horror, the entire experience is fairly generic. Sure, the mutants are ugly and vicious, but they could just have easily been hillbillies, lizard people, leprechauns or Eskimos for all it matters in the end.

The 2006 flick had a character arc whereby the anti-gun, glasses-wearing Democrat-voting Doug was compelled by circumstance to become a lean, Republican killing machine. In this current iteration, the pacifist, rationalist guardsman Napoli (Michael McMillian) has to transcend his touch-feely instincts to kill Kill KILL! It’s not much of a transition, but at least he has a spot of personality, something entirely lacking from everyone and everything else in the flick.

Oh, wait, there’s a drill sergeant who berates his minions constantly. He’s mildly entertaining as a slightly saner version of R. Lee Ermey at his finest. But whereas I would have kept him around, the film makers had different ideas. If indeed they had any ideas at all.

There are shocks and scares, but they’re pretty much standard off the rack kind of stuff. A guy goes to use a portaloo, and is surprised when a hand rises out of the filth to claw at him. He has every right to be surprised. I’d be surprised too. But the real surprise is that there’s a person trapped in there, for reasons that make no sense except for the fact that the film makers needed a way to create a scare when the guy goes to use the shitter.

You don’t actively barrack for the mutants, but I can’t say I really wanted many of the humans to survive. Sure, the mutants are ugly rapist cannibal scum, but the humans were pretty irritating too.

Gone is the well used sound design and creepy effects of the earlier flick, replaced with generic movie noise, which was one of the only things that made the former stand out. Also gone is any sense of eeriness or tension, which is completely absent. Watching morons stumble around Styrofoam caves doesn’t really instil a lot of fear in me or many other people over the age of four, I’d imagine.

Best of all, at the end we are given the clear impression that not only are there more mutants in them there hills, but they’ve also mastered GPS technology. No more getting lost on the way to the mutant mall for these geniuses. Tremble in anticipation of the further flicks they could mine from this rich vein of inspiration. Tremble.

To be watched, to be consumed like the highly processed junk food that it is, and to be disposed off, forgotten until the next time you lower your standards again, you hussy.

5 times I’ve had scarier results from blood tests than this flick out of 10

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“You know one advantage of being dead? Not having to listen to your bullshit.” – or watch this flick, either, The Hills Have Eyes 2

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