So I honestly believe that the 2000’s really was the decade of horror movie remakes. You can even add on a few more years and there has just been one horror remake after another, and I am not counting the American versions of foreign films. All of the iconic films were remade during this period. Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 2003, Dawn Of The Dead in 2004. Halloween in 2007, Friday The 13th in 2009, and Nightmare On Elm Street in 2010. Even some lesser known films, such as April Fool’s Day, Black Christmas, My Bloody Valentine, and The Last House On The Left, got a modern day remake. So with that trend in mind, let’s go ahead and get on with today’s movie, The Hills Have Eyes (2006).
The plot: Some scientist are doing some tests in a radioactive area when they come across a blood soaked man begging for help, just before a mutated man kills all four people. Later, Bob Carter and his family (wife Ethel, their children Bobby, Brenda, and Lynne, her husband Doug and their daughter Catherine, and the family dogs, Beauty and Beast) are traveling from Ohio to San Diego and stop for gas at a rundown gas station. After filling up the tank, the attendant tells them of a shortcut that will save them a couple of hours before sending them on their way. A few miles down the road, their car has a blowout (caused by a hidden spike strip) and crashes into some rocks. After making sure everyone is ok, Bob and Doug go looking for help while the rest of the family stay behind. When Beauty gets out of the trailer, Bobby chases her into the hills only to discover her mutilated corpse. Realizing that someone had killed the dog, he runs back towards the trailer but falls and knocks himself unconscious, where a mutant girl named Ruby and her brother, Goggle, discover him. Doug’s search leads him to a crater where he discovers a crater full of wrecked and abandoned cars. Bob makes it back to the gas station, where he finds news paper clippings of several disappearances and realizes that the attendant had set them up. He finds the attendant just as he commits suicide and then, hearing voices, Bob tries to escape but winds up being captured. Brenda locates Bobby, who keeps quiet about Beauty’s death, Doug shows up, telling them about the crater, and the family figures out sleeping arrangements with Doug and Lynne sleeping in the car, despite Bobby’s protest to stay in the trailer. When Bobby leaves the trailer to investigate some strange noises, a large mutant named Pluto sneaks into the trailer and after making sure Brenda can’t cry out, signals to his family, who light Bob on fire. While Bobby, Doug, Ethel, and Lynne head out to try and save Bob, Pluto and his brother Lizard ransack the trailer, with Lizard also beating and raping Brenda. Hearing Catherine’s cries, Lynne heads back to the trailer but is forced at gunpoint to let Lizard molest her. Ethel enters the trailer and tries to hit Lizard with a rock but he shoots her, and then shoots Lynne. Hearing the shots, Doug and Bobby head back to the trailer and see Lizard and Pluto leaving with Catherine. Meanwhile, Goggle is watching the trailer from a cliff when Beast shows up and attacks him, tearing out his throat. Beast brings Goggle’s arm with a walkie talkie back to the trailer and Doug yells into it for the mutants to give him back his baby but they taunt him with Catherine’s wailing through the radio. In the morning, Doug and Beast head out to rescue Catherine and find an old mine that leads him to an a nuclear testing town but he as he finds Catherine in the town, he is knocked unconscious by Big Mama while trying to save her. When he wakes up, he finds himself locked in an icebox full of body parts but manages to get out. He then continues looking for his daughter and finds a mutant named Big Brain, who tells Doug what happened to them all, before Doug gets attacked by Pluto. Doug and Pluto fight throughout the house, with Pluto severing two of Doug’s fingers before Doug is able to kill the giant mutant. When another mutant, Cyst, heads towards the house, Doug ambushes him and kills him. As Doug continues his search, Big Brain radios Lizard to kill the baby, but then winds up being killed by Beast. Doug hears Catherine crying and sees Ruby carrying her into the hills. Back at the trailer, Bobby and Brenda are trying to make some defenses to warn them if the mutants come back and when the tripwire goes off, they go to investigate but find out it was a distraction as their mother’s body is gone when they get back. While Brenda sets a trap in the trailer, Bobby follows the blood trail to discover that Papa Jupiter, the mutants leader, is feeding on her corpse. Seeing Bobby, Papa Jupiter chases him back to the trailer, where he winds up engulfed in the trailer’s explosion, while the two children escape. Doug catches up to Ruby, who offers him Catherine, but before he can take his baby, Lizard attacks him. Doug eventually manages to beat Lizard, shooting him several times with a shotgun but as he takes Catherine from Ruby, Lizard rises up and aims the shotgun at Doug, prompting Ruby to run Lizard and knock both of them off a cliff. Back at the trailer site, Bobby and Brenda inspect the wreckage from the explosion and discover that Jupiter is still alive so Brenda uses an axe to finish him off. As they prepare to leave, they see Doug, Catherine, and Beast returning and the surviving family members hug each other in gratitude, unaware that they are being watched.
The Hills Have Eyes received mixed reviews from critics, earning only a 49% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus was that the remake ramped up the pace and gore for today’s horror audience but the casual audience would turn away from the film. Some critics even referred to the film as “torture porn”. Audiences didn’t seem to mind as it would wind up making over $69 million worldwide, over four times the budget of the film.
Wow, that was a pretty long plot synopsis but to be fair, a lot does happen in this movie. I am kind of split on this remake. The acting was pretty good. and all of the actors did a pretty good job in their roles, although I think it would have been better if there had been a little more depth into the mutants. The story was pretty close to the original movie with only a few differences to it, although I will admit, I did like the twist of the nuclear testing radiating the family instead of them just being normal savages. The critics were right about the violence as this was a lot bloodier and had more gore than the original movie, but that did not necessarily make it better. So a good horror movie but a toss up on if it is better than the original.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5