The Hills Have Eyes 2
2007Director: Martin Weisz
Cast: Daniella Alonso, Michael McMillian, Jessica Stroup
he Hills Have Eyes 2 is a movie so aggressively bad that whatever hope or optimism you might have had for the day abruptly ends upon watching it. I walked out of the theater in a funk, with every depressing memory I could possibly conjure up suddenly flooding my brain. The film contains, but is not limited to, mutant rape, childbirth without the aid of anesthesia carried out under anything but sanitary conditions, and half-dead eviscerated bodies emerging from latrines. It’s a film that revels in its own depravity like a pig wallowing joyfully in its own feces. To make matters worse, the director Martin Weisz appears to possess some innate desire to force his helpless audience face-first into the shit as well, pummeling our senses with every sick act his fevered imagination can summon. As the film repeatedly makes clear, the hills indeed have eyes, but by the end of this train wreck, I wanted to tear out my own.
I wasn’t a terribly enthusiastic fan of Alexandre Aja’s remake of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes, but, next to this reprehensible sequel, that film looks like Citizen Kane. Aja may be overrated, but his propensity for Sergio Leone-style extreme close-ups and his willingness to pace his movie with some semblance of dynamism remains leagues above the flatly efficient direction on display here. There isn’t a single shot in this entire film that stands out in any significant way. As such, The Hills Have Eyes 2 is so stripped of beauty that even the expansive grandiosity of its mountainous setting is reduced to little more than an unimpressive pile of rocks.
The plot of the film doesn’t differ all that much from the last film, except that this time around, the filmmakers saw no reason to supply a backstory for the mutants living in the hills (I guess they assumed most of their audience had seen the original). In this film, the luckless victims of the mutants’ Deliverance-inspired acts of sadism are a group of National Guardsmen sent to the area for reasons never made clear to the audience. We care very little for these people since Weisz spends little time involving us in their personal histories before he starts hacking body parts from them. What little dialogue they deliver alternates between clumsy exposition merely spoken to move the plot forward, and jejune insults directed against the masculinity of other members of the team. Eventually, this group of foul-mouthed character types arrives at the remote desert base only to find that the team of scientists meant to greet them has mysteriously vanished. That’s about it for the plot.
From there, the narrative deteriorates into one death scene after another as the film slithers its way toward its dreary conclusion in which the victims during the first half of the narrative exact graphic retribution upon their tormentors. This serves as one of the main grievances I have against the film. The Hills Have Eyes 2 is the type of movie that ruthlessly subjects its audience to gratuitous violence against its innocent victims, then attempts to validate this onslaught of garbage by supplying cathartic, brutal justice during the closing act. While I wouldn’t suggest that anyone with a shred of reasoning would be foolish enough to apply the morality contained in HHE2 to everyday life, I nonetheless cannot accept the eye-for-an-eye justice it utilizes. Whatever negative attributes it instills within its advocates bury themselves deep within the viewers’ psyche. No, these people won’t go on to, say, respond to a poor letter grade in school by severing their teacher’s arm, but they might, as a result of the depiction portrayed in the film, view women in a less than favorable light. Call it fear mongering on my part if you want, but after slogging through this film, I don’t view it as a terribly overwrought result of such mindless violence.
Beside, one need only look toward the tagline of the film to determine the real purpose of the film: This time the lucky ones don’t die first. They die fast. That says a lot about the film’s intent to satisfy its audiences’ base desire for violence without consequence. Oddly enough, throughout the film the only individual to suffer a slow, excruciating death was myself. I don’t simply want my money back after viewing this one; I want the producers of this film to somehow bend the natural laws of the universe and retrieve the ninety minutes of my life I wasted here. I have nothing more to say on the matter. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to read a book, or take in a refreshingly beautiful movie, something, anything to purge my soul of this filth.
The Hills Have Eyes 2 is currently in wide release.