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THE HILLS HAVE EYES
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Reviewed by: Matt Withers

Directed by: Wes Craven

Starring:
Susan Lanier
Dee Wallace
Robert Houston
Michael Berryman

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Family on vacation is told to stay on the main road. Stupid family ignores advice. Bad things unsurprisingly happen.
Is it good movie?
I was surprised how much I enjoyed rewatching this flick. I hadn't seen it in almost two decades, and to tell the truth it's got a lot more going for it than I remembered. Sure the characters break all the rules that got laid down in Craven's SCREAM, but that's half the fun. Just taking a trip back to a time when horror wasn't quite so damn self aware.

Don't get me wrong, the story of cannibals living in the Nevada desert remains as silly as ever, and nobody's getting acting awards for the performances here, but the film does provide some surprisingly effective moments.

First of all, nothing and no one is safe in this bad boy. Not dogs, not mothers, hell not even babies. I can't go so far as to call anything in this shocking, but you can definitely see why they had to go through so many cuts to get HHE into theaters. A dude chats up a dead body while he eats it for goodness sake.

On top of that we really get to see the evil family quite a bit in the second half of the film. We're not exactly rooting for them, but we're not really rooting against them either. Craven does a great job of showing the dysfunction in the family dynamic of both the predators and the prey.

And the action is pretty intense when it gets going. You'll find bloodier and sicker offerings all over your Netflix queue I'm sure, but certain sacred cows still have the ability to impress when used to proper and demented effect. How many movies have the balls to use a dead mother as bait? Not many. And there's a severed tendon that made me wince despite the less than realistic F/X.

Perhaps the best part of the film is its bleak, and abrupt ending. Usually a denouement of this sort feels forced and cheap to me, but in this case I think Craven hit the last nail of this dusty coffin right on the head.

Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16.9 TV's

Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX, 6.1 DTS-ES

The Extras
Audio Commentary with Director Wes Craven and Producer Peter Locke: It's fun listening to these two veterans take a trip down memory lane. There's not a lot of new information to be gained, but both men have an easy conversational approach to the anecdotes they share, which makes for a solid addition to the DVD's value.
Last Call
The Hills Have Eyes is too rough and inconsistent to earn entrance into the top tier of genre cannon, but what it lacks in polish, it more than makes up for with energy, viciousness, and plain ole' good times. It's fun, damn fun, and if you haven't seen the original, or just haven't checked in with it for a while, do yourself a favor and grab this bloody treat some weekend soon.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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