The F*ckin Black Sheep: Hills Have Eyes II (2007)

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We’re hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

Hills Have Eyes II (2007)
Directed by Martin Weisz

“HILLS HAVE EYES II gives us plenty of painful, painful gore.”

Well, it’s that time of year again for family and feasts, where everyone can enjoy stupid amounts of food with people you either love or not so much.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a plethora of horror films to choose from dedicated to the American Thanksgiving holiday, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make a connection. Take 2007’s HILLS HAVE EYES II, a movie that preaches family values and the importance of sharing food with loved ones. Ok, ok, so most of us probably don’t equate inbred cannibals with this time of year, but why not? The family that sticks together is better for it, right?

Let’s be clear right away. Wes Craven’s original HILLS HAVE EYES is a cult classic. The 2006 remake, directed by French badass Alexandre Aja, brought the style and the pain that make a remake worthwhile. Both films had sequels. Both are not universally loved. With that said, the 2007 sequel HILLS HAVE EYES II isn’t nearly as bad as people remember.

Does it miss Aja’s style, pacing, and tension? Shit yes. Part II is less focused, less crisp and filled with characters no one gives a shit about. Which is a shame. Written by Wes Craven and his son Jonathan (yes, the Cravens actually wrote this one), the sequel follows a lackluster platoon of National Guard sent to Sector 16 where everyone’s favorite inbred family lives and puts in a hard day’s work of murder, kidnapping, and rape. We get lots of military bravado that all sounds like bad dialogue from a B movie version of FULL METAL JACKET. It’s actually a little sad this came out with Craven’s name attached to it. Good military films have characters that it pains the audience when they die. Not a single character here stands out (minus the hot girls). Bad military films like this one, however, still end up enjoyable because it has soldiers, guns, and lots of tough guy (or woman) talk. Folks in uniforms who throw grenades and shoot a variety of weapons always makes something a little bit better.

I actually dig that HILLS HAVE EYES II took a different direction. This isn’t another family who takes a wrong turn. These are armed soldiers (not good ones), which changes the tone and how we view the movie. The government knows who is and isn’t on their property. And they obviously don’t care.

HILLS HAVE EYES II gives us plenty of painful, painful gore and the sheer brutality of the hill people (or whatever they prefer for their PC name). They remain a scary bunch, and where the movie succeeds comes from all those stalking scenes, where the soldiers attempt a rescue only to be slowly picked off one by one. Every time someone tries to step up and be all that they can be, they usually get dead. I actually wish we would have got more of the hill people. Not like actual conversation or scenes of them washing their hands before a good old people meal, but a few more small moments in order to understand how they live. We’re given small glimpses here and there, but I think the tension could have been much stronger if we learned more about them.

HILLS HAVE EYES II picks up once the soldiers enter into the mines within the enemies home turf and the claustrophobia and the darkness takes over. It makes the movie. Again, is every move they make stupid? Yes. Does everything they say sound stupid? Yes. But it’s always one of those films that requires a shoulder shrug in order to enjoy the damn thing. Roll with it. Watch blood fly. Watch heads get caved in. Watch a family work together in order to have a decent meal. Talk about preaching true family values. Enjoy your turkey, folks. Sink your teeth into some meat.





Latest Movie News Headlines