If you wanna see a bunch of National Guardsmen in peril, go watch Walter Hill’s outstanding Southern Comfort where warriors come out to play-ee-yay with your emotions in a sinister, underappreciated horror you’ll definitely appreciate more than The Hills Have Eyes II.
The first Hills remake had its detractors (not here), but Alexandre Aja (High Tension director, Maniac writer) crafted a capable film — as the Washington Post put it, “even as he reinvents, Aja invents…”
That one was way better than it had any business being, given the woebegone state of horror movie re-dos.
Here, we have Martin Weisz on the directorial stool, a man whose experience derives predominantly from music video shoots for Sisqo (maybe he does know a thing or too about horror? “Thong, thong, thong, thong, thong” is pretty darn horrifying).
What he brings us in The Hills Have Eyes sequel though, is all the annoying quick cuts from his day job as well as a bunch of truly terrible CG blood (for a movie featuring some terrific viscera from Greg Nicotero, why’d they even go there?)
We’re back in the unforgiving desert, in New Mexico’s Sector 16 rather than the Simpsonian Sector 7-G, and a bunch of carbon blob, er, National Guard soldiers are being put through their paces in a training mission replicating the rugged geography of Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The setup involves standard military movie-issue intra-ethnic tensions, cussing, dim banter, a hard-nosed sarge and the inevitable ball-busting: “One good thing about being dead. Wouldn’t have to listen to all your bullshit!”
All of a sudden a distress call comes through, and the team has to rescue some researchers. An easy-breezy training exercise becomes deadly serious.
Emphasis on deadly.
That’s when “you know who” pounces – those cannibalistic A-Bomb mutants lurking in desert caves.
Who knew Wes Craven’s incomparable creation would be reduced to this overly slick, jump scared-filled mess? (Craven shares the blame for co-writing this fiasco, one of the more poorly written horrors you’ll ever see.)
One thing that can be said about The Hills Have Eyes 2 (or II): You’ll never look at a porta-potty the same way. Guess it is an accomplishment to make them even MORE disgusting…
** (out of 5)