Monday, October 02, 2006

The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

I originally had planned to watch Mario Bava's Kill Baby Kill last night (as curiosity had gotten the best of me after I'd heard it boasts some of the most realistic and horrific surgery scenes a person can set their eyes on in a horror film--plus it has a wicked cool name) but unfortunately the copy I'd gotten from the library looked like someone had chewed on it and, needless to say, kept skipping horribly in my dvd player. So I resorted to watching this instead...

Plotline: Living in the hills of the New Mexico are the run-off genetic mutations from past governmental nuclear-testing, and they are not happy. A family traveling across the desert towards California makes the mistake of taking a shortcut that leads them right into the arms of these genetic crazies and into a horrifying and bloody mess of a day.

Scariness factor: So-so. Creepy and horrific at times, but not so terribly scary.

Gross-Out Factor: Very very high gore-factor. They seemed to enjoy making things as bloody as possible, and no one dies quickly.

Complaints: I'm not a fan of newer horror flicks, mostly due to the fact that I feel like I'm watching an MTV-video most of the time. They are too slick-looking and this, to me, makes them not quite so scary. THHE was no different. Way too slick at times which bores me. The style/directing in this movie was also rather strange--it seemed unsure of itself and inconsistent. At times it felt like two different movies, cinematographically, like the creators couldn't quite figure out what they were going for visually. As for the realism--I appreciated this aspect of the original much more. Granted, the bad guys were lame-ass in the original, but the movie was somehow horrifying in that the family members were picked off so quickly and so unelaborately. In this new version, the elaborate and convoluted deaths of family members and bad guys makes it seem a lot less raw and terrifying than the simplicity of the original one.

High Points: The original definitely was a bit lame when it came to the bad-guys, seeing as they all just looked like they were donning dark caveman wigs, so this movie offered a bit of improvement, even though some of the mutants were kinda not that creepy. The violence is a bit horrifying and yet weirdly attractive in some sort of way that I cannot pinpoint. It is gruesome and excessive, but I liked some of it. Particularly (and this is an example of where the cinematography starts to wander in style) the second half, when the brother-in-law goes searching for his baby and runs into several confrontations with the hilly mutants. The acting was actually fairly decent, at least with regards to the family (and particularly the younger son). And it had an interesting opening musical-montage that felt very Dawn of the Dead (2004)-inspired--footage of nuclear testing set to the music of some meandering and benign, country-ish Webb Pierce song in a way that made it feel strange and unsettling. In general, the score was also sometimes really damn perfect (and at other times really clunky and irritating).

Overall: I could take or leave this movie really--it's nothing special, but it's definitely not as bad as I thought it was gonna be.

Grade: C+



At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the father being burned was pretty cool but the girl getting raped not so much.

At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've been misinformed about Kill, Baby... Kill! which does not have much explicit gore, but is a very spooky gothic horror classic worth watching.

For intense horror surgery, I'd search for Criterion's DVD of Eyes Without A Face.


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