Monday 26th June 2006
By Philip Ellwood
'The Hills Have Eyes' is a remake of the original 1977 Wes Craven horror movie. The film follows the Carter family as they travel to California to celebrate the wedding anniversary of their parents Bob (Ted Levine) and Ethel (Kathleen Quinlan). Making their way through the desert the family stop at a gas station to refuel and are advised to take a shortcut through the hills. Following the advice of the gas attendant the family follow the shortcut and after driving over spikes hidden in the road find themselves stranded. As Bob and his son-in-law Doug (Aaron Stanford) go in search of help the family find they are not alone in the hills. In fact they will be lucky to make it out alive...
First things first. If you suffer from a nervous disposition or are easily terrifed then avoid this film like the plague. If you're like me and love a good horror then 'The Hills Have Eyes' is certainly the film for you. Unlike most horrors the film actually takes the time to give the characters some depth and develops the individual characters. This actually makes watching them get brutally slaughtered all the more difficult. You really feel for the family and even I was left gobsmacked by the brutality depicted in some of the scenes. One particular scene, which I will not detail here for you sensitive readers, is a particularly harrowing one and sees half of the family wiped out within 10 minutes. The mutants that live in the hills assault the caravan and car the Carter family are travelling in and it was at this point I almost turned the movie off and put something a little happier on (I'm thinking Spongebob Squarepants). Against my better judgement I continued to watch the movie, mostly with my face buried into the sofa.
The mutants in the hills are very sinister and creepy. Everytime they appear on the screen the scare factor increases. They are like a more deformed variation of 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' baddies. Their presence feels incredibly threatening and how any of the cast could act out the scenes they do is beyond me. I would have been traumatised. Credit must go to Emilie de Ravin who plays one of the Carter family daughters, Brenda. Emilie is best known for her role as Claire Littleton in 'Lost' and she gets the most unpleasant scene in 'The Hills Have Eyes'. She is utterly convincing throughout and the things her character is subjected to are absolutely unthinkable.
'The Hills Have Eyes' is not a pleasant film nor is it one that many people will feel the need to watch over and over again. It is a fantastic horror movie and its subject matter is a little bit too believable. This of course all adds to the scare factor and sets 'The Hills Have Eyes' aside from other films of its genre. The film frequently crosses the boundary of taste and if you like you're gore you'll love the movie. If you can stomach it I highly recommend 'The Hills Have Eyes' as a superior horror film. Before you put it on however, consider yourself warned!