OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets


The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

I have probably watched this movie a gazillion times since it came out, and because I felt in the mood for an ACTUAL good movie tonight (and I didn't intend to make the same mistake as with The Plague this time), I chose to do the right thing, aka, watch something that I know to be good. Also, I felt that this little blog could use more movies that are good (I think the crappy movies are a bit in the lead at the moment, although you know that I don't think they are crappy... well, not in the "they are crappy" way anyways, if that makes any sense), and as I consider The Hills Have Eyes to be a treat... there you go, I'm biased.

Oh... the plot? An American family en route to California drives through the desert of New Mexico (because of the stubborn pater familias), has a mysterious car breakdown after taking a shortcut (it's a horror movie - we ALL know that shortcuts are BAD!), and... well. Is being hunted down by a group of cannibalistic mutants.

Between 1945 and 1962 the United States conducted 331 atmospheric nuclear test. Today, the government still denies the genetic effects caused by the radioactive fallout...

Combine this nifty line with sound effects/music (if it was in my playlist, it'd probably be classified as Dark Industrial Ambient or something like that...) that is pulsing on and on and drilling into your mind. The combination of the footage of nuclear testings, deformed babies/fetuses/people with this music is something I love far too much. We are just barely done with the credits, mind you, and I am already bathing in joy. Kudos to and two thumbs up for Alexandre Aja.

A propos Alexandre Aja: The first French director that I actually appreciate. I intend to watch
Haute Tension as soon as I can get my greedy bony fingers onto it.

The camerawork in this movie is, for all means and purposes, astonishing - the shots are creepy and truly make the movie what it is. The kind of camerawork we often find in B-Movies or... well, worse movies is not helping in any way to establish a sense of desolation or creepiness. In Aja's remake of Wes Craven's original, every single shot fits. This is truly more than just solid directing. This is awesome directing, and I want to see more of it.

In short:
Cinematography A+++, Mr. Aja. The pictures are astonishing. Thank you. Thank you for (re-)making a great movie.

Our victims (errr... I mean the cast of Good People) are a pretty good (forgive me the repetition) bunch of actors. Nowhere do I detect over-the-top acting, and yet the characters are stereotypical enough so that we don't need an hour of character development to understand what is happening. Still, what character development we get (little snippets we glean from conversations) helps to make the characters appear less shallow and more like real people. However, it's pretty obvious from the second they are introduced who our survivors are going to be. Surprisingly enough, it's 3.1666667/6.1666667 (I count babies as 0.1666667 persons, and not even an awesome movie as this one will make me believe that a baby will be killed onscreen... *sighs*). Not a high body count, but trust me... The Hills Have Eyes makes up for it in gratuitious violence and a lot of gore. And I mean "A LOT OF HIGH QUALITY GORE"... or have I gone soft on my old days? You decide.

I also want to add at this point that the two German shepherds that our victims possess are very intelligently named. If I needed any convincing that the guys are from the USA, naming your pair of male and female German shepherds "Beauty" and "Beast" would do it.

Desert.... desert.... desolation... wonderful. Perfect. The beautiful shots emphasise the utter loneliness in those hills (and remember... the hills have eyes...).

One of my favourite scenes is when the, err... Christian Americans decide to pray before looking for help.
"Dear God, please send us your guardian angels...." - and what do we get after that? The camera slowly zooms out... to show us this:


I don't know why, but this brings me immense glee and joy. Note the gleeful cackle that I tried to express in written form above, which ALWAYS escapes my lips when watching this movie.

There are only 2.5 problems I have with Aja's
The Hills Have Eyes:

- Plothole #1: Young Bobby doesn't tell anyone that he found one of their dogs gutted and with removed intestines as well as, apparently, a missing leg (see exhibit A below). No one in their right mind doesn't tell anyone that they found their dog GUTTED. The excuse "I didn't want to upset mom..." wasn't exactly believable either... but I shall forgive Mr. Aja and Grégory Levasseur. It's just a minor thing, really.

- Plothole #2: Why does the guy from the gas station keep a severed ear in a lunchbox?! He doesn't seem to be related to the cannibalistic mutants I love so much, but still he keeps that stupid ear in a freaking burger box. Why? Can someone explain his logical thought processes to me?

- Idiocy #0.5: IF you happen to come across a crater full of abandoned cars in the middle of the desert, your instincts should tell you that SOMETHING. IS. WRONG.

But those were/are my only three complaints, and compared to other movies, this is not a lot. Also, those things actually didn't really bother me, I just wanted to point them out (honestly, I didn't really care about them, but no review of mine, besides that for Cannibal Flesh Riot! can be without minor criticism. So... there you go, that was my official criticism of
The Hills Have Eyes (2006).

Aside from that: I genuinely love this movie. No matter if you root for the cannibalistic mutants (like I do) or not... you HAVE to admit that they have superb tactics. They use psychological terror in a way that leaves me awestruck, scatter their prey... the desolate surroundings also play a big role of this, as does their use of - le GASP! - technology. Yes. These cannibalistic mutants use Walkie Talkies. That is why they rule so much (funnily enough, it's also one of the reasons why I won the book
"The Summer I Died" in a horrorwatch.com contest...).

Also, this movie features my favourite cannibalistic mutant of all times: Lizard. He has a chain that brings me joy. And eats birds. Drinks them, rather.

I approve of that. Totally.

I also want to note one important thing: Lizard is sort of hot (yes, yes, I know, I am a freak) and I would marry him. I also think that the topic of cannibalistic mutant-sexuality should be approached more openly in horror movies, or movies in general. One other scene that I totally approve of is when Lizard draws Pluto off the generic blonde girl Brenda that he (Pluto) is raping, with the immortal words
"You gotta be a man to do that!", all the while beating Pluto. Poor Pluto. I know it's probably terribly wrong to approve of that and find joy and awesome in that scene, but I do. I apologise for being a terrible human (?) being.

Okay, back to the normal review. I will drool over the spiky chain of death and desaster and despair as wielded by the awesome Lizard in the privacy of... well, of not typing up a review whilst going all fangirl over the poor guy.

The soundtrack and music are effective, tasteful and, if I might say so, AWESOME.

Also, the blood is really good. The consistency is pretty much correct (aka 10/10 on my "blood-realism"-scale), and the colour is also pretty much perfect (could at times have been a tad darker, but my general impression was that it was one of the most realistic depictions of blood I've seen in... in... well, since I started watching horror flicks, and that's quite some while). And it dries on people and things! We actually get to see realistic dry blood. You know, when it has that brownish colour. Nearly every movie gets that wrong - but not Alexandre Aja in this remake. Nope. He gets it right. And I approve of that. Mightily.
Also, the gurgling sounds in one death-scene are just ....awesome doesn't even begin to describe it. Genius. Perfect. Wonderful. Loved it.

The dialogues are, surprisingly enough for a horror flick, good as well. At no point was I forced to giggle or just think "Oh dear Gods, who wrote THAT crap?!". Another thumbs up here.

In short... good pacing (a bit slow in the beginning, but that just serves to heighten the suspense in the more, erm, gory parts of the movie), awesome music, unexpected twists, awesome directing, the camerawork makes me nearly orgasm with joy, and there is quite an unexpected amount of jump scares. This, ladies, gentlemen, ghouls and others, is what I call a good movie. A really good movie. Plus, I like gratuitious violence, if I didn't already say that (if I already did, just think of this as me trying to be explicit and driving the point home).

And just because I can: Lizard is SO AWESOME, you can't even begin to believe it. He could only be better if he was a ghoul. But hey, I don't want to give the impression that I'm nagging.

Still, Lizard and his spiky chain bring me joy. A lot (no, not THAT kind of joy, your perverts!). Still probably far too much.

Oh, and... I approve of cannibalistic mutants. Seriously.

9.5/10 cannibalistic mutants with spiky chains.