It’s no secret that horror films these days severely lack originality and overuse violence and gore instead of actually scaring the audience. Sometimes this works and when coinciding with an actual story can make for a good movie. The Hills Have Eyes remake from 2006 wasn’t half bad because there was a tiny amount of depth in the story, combined with the violence that audiences have come to love. But ultimately for me, it didn’t hit the mark, it was just another typical horror movie. I really don’t think the s…quel will offer anything beyond it, but here’s hoping it will.
The Hills Have Eyes 2 takes place two years after the 2006 film, and offers no closure on the events left open at the end of the original. There is now military presence in the area, and I can only assume that means the surviving family members of the first film informed the government of the mutants. Regardless, in the opening scenes of the film some research scientists are brutally murdered and it’s obvious that the mutants are still around and still pissed off. Meanwhile a group of soldiers is dispatched to the location of the scientists to deliver equipment, but upon arriving it’s discovered that the camp is abandoned. It now becomes a search and rescue mission, where the cannibalistic mutants begin picking off the soldiers one by one, hoping to capture the females for breading purposes. The group must now band together to overcome the threat of the mutants and ensure their very survival.
The Hills Have Eyes 2 follows the exact same formula as the original and it wasn’t even half as good, which doesn’t say much. The main difference between the two films is that this one had more of an action feel to it than anything; there was nothing horrific about it, unless you consider the characters, plot, and acting. There was no continuity from the first film, which means you could watch this is a standalone movie, but you’ll be left with the same story arc and ending as the first film. Ultimately I wouldn’t bother checking this movie out, even if you were a fan of the first installment, but if you can’t resist then give it a rental, but hold back on the purchase.
Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen, The Hills Have Eyes 2 hits DVD with some lackluster results. The transfer starts off well, with scenes in the desert looking colorful and crisp. Flesh tones maintained a realistic look and colors although sometimes oversaturated, did look consistently rich and full.
A good portion of the film takes place in gritty low lit caves and the transfer takes a beating because of it. Many scenes are plagued with extreme softness and compression artifacts, making visibility even most difficult. The mutants themselves can look detailed in given close up shots but rarely is this the case. Black levels, although impressive in the exterior shots, looked washed out as did many of the other colors. Even though the transfer does look good in some spots, its simply not enough to forgive its shortcomings.
Fox has included a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track that does a good job setting up tension for the next fright but lacks the overall consistency of a great sounding track. The lack of bass and rear channel support in scenes besides the “tension” building ones sounded awfully weak and at times flat. Dialogue specifically lacked depth and did not blend well with the loud music. As for the action sequences, gun fire did sound decent but again lacks that extra punch often sounding like firecrackers. Although this is the most impressive technical aspect of the disc there still isn’t a lot here to write home on.
Although there is a nice handful of features, none of them are really worth your attention, ultimately a rather disappointing set of features, fans will be wanting more.
- Deleted Scenes – 4 deleted scenes, nothing special here and really not worth checking out.
- Alternate Ending – An equally disappointing and almost identical ending, very weak.
- Gag Reel – A very unfunny gag reel, a collection of outtakes centering each different character, 4 minutes duration.
- Mutant Attacks – A behind the scenes look at the mutants of the film, includes cast and crew interviews with perspectives on the cannibal family of the film, 10 minutes in duration.
- Birth of a Graphic Novel – A look at the prequel graphic novel, a collage of illustrations and interviews with the people behind it. An interesting process developing the graphic novel, and although not amazing this is probably the most interesting feature, 12 minutes long.
- Exploring The Hills – A 13 minute making of featurette, not entirely enthralling but a decent watch for fans of the movie who want to learn more about what went into the film.
- Fox Movie Channel Presents: Life After Film School With Wes Craven – A 10 minute conversation with 3 students discussing film stuff with Wes Craven, possibly an interesting watch for prospective film students, but overall pretty boring.
The Hills Have Eyes 2 is simply put a horrible sequel to a mediocre movie. The plot is a joke and the acting is not much better. Take that mix it with weak audio, video and special features and it is hard to recommend this disc for even fans of the film.
Special Features List
- Deleted Scenes
- Alternate Ending
- Gag Reel
- Mutant Attacks
- Birth of a Graphic Novel
- Exploring The Hills
- Fox Movie Channel Presents: Life After Film School With Wes Craven