Review: ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ (2006)

The Hills have eyes… again… as well as a creepy ability to move unseen and undetected in spite of the fact they’re carrying enough weapons, tools, and victims to be heard over a rock band in concert.

“Big Bob” (Ted Levine) has insisted in combining a family vacation across the southwestern states with a move to San Diego, California. In tow are his wife, his youngest son and daughter (Dan Byrd and “Lost’s” Emilie de Ravin), his oldest daughter and her husband (Vinessa Shaw and X-men’s Aaron Stanford) and two dogs named Beauty and Beast. Our future victims are of course directed down a wrong turn in the New Mexico desert where mutated miners live on the US nuclear testing grounds, but which victims will lay down to die and which will have the guts to fight back at any cost?

Practically a stock plot, creepy locals prey on vacationing strangers passing through unfamiliar territory. Since none of the characters ever pick up on this immediately (or check with AAA, or check a freakin’ map, or Google their route), we get the same plot where we wait and hope to see a few interesting kills and any real freaky emotion behind them. This remake of The Hills Have Eyes isn’t the train wreck of The Fog remake but does fall short of the few improvements to the Dawn of the Dead remake. Let’s break ’em down…

Forget the tagline, “The lucky ones die first,” implying they maybe everyone is captured (or should have been) and MAYBE someone hears a friend or relative being tortured enough to actually do something about it. No, the survivors of the first wave are given all the time they could want to pad the film’s running time. Whereas we could have seen a cool underground network of tunnels (one possible yet unexplained reason how the muties move around so quick and quiet), the Miner 49’ers instead prefer to hang about “test town” next to creepy sixty-year old mannequins still set up for nuclear tests. If this was meant to be grotesque or even freaky, it falls short after about thirty seconds. The rest is a cat-and-mouse endgame with an infant as the prize, and the producers again show they have no idea where to go with this one a last-minute MacGyver emerges with an explosive idea.

Horror by committee, or remake for the sake of profit, take your pick. Or perhaps there was a bit of a political agenda when “democrat who hates guns” is forced to act. At least the end result is better than director Alexandre Aja’s last film High Tension, but a crippled plot ensures this Hills remake contains none of what worked for Tension. If you’d like to see the best version EVER of this recycled storyline, watch Breakdown with Kurt Russell and J.T. Walsh… no nuclear testing required. Otherwise, is it coincidence that the title of the film rhymes with The Shills Sell Lies or that the lucky ones saw something else?

(a one skull recommendation out of four)


  1. If u like Rape, Blood, and Goofy men that look like Jabba or the cyclopse from the movie ‘The Goonies’ then you will love it! Only people who are not true horror fans will think this is actually scary! HAHA girls were the ones jumping in the theater I practically was enjoying my popcorn. Its totally crap! Only little 14 yr olds will think this is ‘cool’ and who made this? Hicks living in the midwest? A girl getting raped from the back and front is something only teenagers can think of as scary! ITS A TOTAL SCI-FI FILM, not horror or scary at all! The trailors are MISLEADING! Im so mad after reading all the reviews from the people who got their $9.50 back, I was about to walk off only if I knew I could buy myself dinner at least! CRAP movie! SAVE YOUR MONEY b4 the first half!! The whole family except 3 die in the end…its stupid and soooo predictable, not scary at all!!!

    Wes Craven is an idiot and I think he just humilated himself and his reputation with this idiotic film.


  2. Hey I was just surfing around and decided to post a short comment here. I run a movie review message board and am looking for people to write reviews and contribute at my forum. You can even post a link to your blog on your signature file at my forum. It’s all good! Take care.


  3. i agree with milly..i thought it was a good horror film the first time i saw it i was in shock sorta..i would sit there and my mouth would be hanging open from some of the crazy stuff in this my opinion its one of the better horror films in a long time because idk if anyone knows but this story is pretty much based on events that happened in scotland or something like that many years ago. the sawney-bean family it .. i think the fact that theres a supposed true story behind this movie makes it even more creepier becasue this shit really could happen. i think anyways..that’s all on my end .. byee = )


  4. First, a movie doesn’t have to be unpredictable to be good. Second, there’s no real point in arguing that if a movie doesn’t scare you, it’s not a good horror flick. I don’t want to take up too much space here, but I’ll give one obvious example of a predictable, not very scary, but thoroughly great horror film: The Shining. And the list could go on. Now, I’m not comparing The Hills Have Eyes to The Shining, I’m just making a point.
    I really enjoyed this remake. It was well shot, the the tension was handled really well. This was the result of a director who cares about his craft.


  5. Can you say “BAD” ?
    There are movies who make you sick to your stomach and don’t allow you to sleep properly for days in a good way. Example of that would be – Saw and (almost) all of its sequels.
    Then there are the movies that make you lose self respect and leave the movie theater mere minutes after they have started. The Hills Have Eyes is one of those movies.
    If you have any sense, you will hear my warning – do NOT see this movie. It is a complete and BADBADBADBAD waste of time.


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