The Hills Have Eyes 2: Unrated – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director

Martin Weisz

Cast

Michael McMillian PFC David “Napoleon” Napoli
Jessica Stroup PFC Amber Johnson
Daniella Alonso PFC “Missy” Martinez
Jacob Vargas PFC “Crank” Medina
Michael Bailey Smith Hades
Derek Mears Chameleon
Tyrell Kemlo Stabber

DVD Release Date: July 17, 2007
Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 89 Minutes

The Movie

There’s always that one group of military recruits that are nothing but misfits. They can’t do anything right, they all have very different personalities, and of course none of them like one another. It really is quite a shame then that they are usually relied upon to take on some of the most dangerous missions.

A group of National Guard rejects are out in the desert on some training missions and just can’t seem to get things in order. They’re even delegated to bringing some supplies to a group of military scientists because they can’t stop screwing up. Upon arriving at the scientists’ camp along with their hard-nosed sergeant, they find the place deserted. There are no signs of a struggle and no signs of any life anywhere. The radios don’t work very well so deep in the rocky hills, but one call comes across and it sounds like one of distress.

The Sergeant leaves a few behind to try and make contact on the radio while the rest go with him to try and find signs of life. It isn’t long before small rocks fall for no reason, echoes are heard in the distance, and maniacal giggling surrounds them. Continuing on their way though, one of the scientists is found bludgeoned to death and this has gone from a simple drop-off to a search and rescue mission. Little did they know that it would turn into a rescue mission for their own lives.

In an area that was once used for atomic bomb testing, radiation is a fear of all who find out about the past tests. But the army says it is safe, so it must be. The radiation is the least of their worries though as the group soon comes face to deformed face with the mutant family that now resides in the hills. They are not fond of people trespassing in their area, but they surely don’t mind a female or two from time to time. Females can help their race survive while the males are always good for a snack. The guards though are hoping to all return from their missions without being lunch or a breeding ground, but it’s not going to be that easy.

Well, there’s just not much that can be said here except that this is a sequel and a remake that never needed to be made. While it isn’t a complete waste of an hour and a half of any of your days; it still is time that could have been more enjoyable had they put a bit more thought into it. The remake of The Hills Have Eyes that came out last year? Well, let’s just say I wasn’t expecting too much when arriving at the theatre. Upon leaving the theatre I was distraught, disturbed, and just in outright awe. As a lover of the original, I didn’t expect the gore and graphic nature with which Alexandre Aja and Wes Craven presented the remake. It is a sincere shame that all those good qualities didn’t even show as much as a left pinky in the remake of the sequel.

Comparing the two, the sentimentality was there in the first film because it was a family that was being torn apart. Family members had to watch as others were horribly raped and brutally mangled. The audience could relate because there was a close connection between the characters. In Hills 2, the characters all really can’t stand one another. Even though it is sad when one dies and they are upset; there’s no emotional connection. Only once throughout the whole film did I ever really get surprised by a death and felt a bit upset by it. And oddly enough, it wasn’t even a death caused by the mutants.

Take into account a lot of other aspects missing from this film when comparing it to the first and it makes it even less entertaining. A severe lack of blood and interesting death scenes doesn’t help the horror factor at all. The mutants are supposedly smarter and stronger this time around, but they seem to have gone back in time a bit. In the first Hills, the mutants had spike wielding chains and solid sharp clubs as weapons. Now they are reduced to giant meat cleavers and an axe or two. Even most of the deaths aren’t cause predominately by the mutants but by the guards themselves. Aja’s presence is lacking greatly from this film and it is truly evident.

The Video

The film is shown in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and was nicely done. There are not a lot of bright colors to be seen in this film so don’t expect much. They are in the rocky hills of the desert and the main characters are all in beige because of being in the National Guard. But when there is blood, and there isn’t much, it looks bright, red, and perfect.

The Audio

The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and is alright. This film suffers from the problem of getting the volume perfect for the dialogue and then an explosion of sudden music burst deafening you. It also would have been nice if the mutants’ laughs and random sounds as they bounced around the hills had come from all the speakers instead of just the front two.

Special Features

Deleted Scenes – Four scenes that have really no bearing on the film and actually were still kind of in the finished copy but shot in different ways.

Alternate Ending – Absolutely pointless although this ending doesn’t leave way for another sequel like the actual ending does.

Gag Reel – A rather funny bit of clips containing some screw-ups, hamming it up to the camera, and a hell of a lot of cursing. So if you thought enough not to let your kids watch the film, but thought it was OK for them to see the special features, then think again.

Mutant Attacks – All about the fun group of mutants that are patrolling the hills this time around. An in-depth look at the mutants and how they are different from those in the first film. A lot of the cast consider them to be the “hillbilly reject cousins” of the first troop, but Wes and Johnathan Craven though consider them to be a much smarter group and considerably stronger. It’s a rather interesting look into the story behind the mutant clan and how they are desperately trying to keep their kind alive and growing.

Birth Of A Graphic Novel – This is perhaps the best special feature as it takes a deep look into the graphic novel that has come about due to the films. “The Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning” is a prequel to both the first and second films and is said to give a great amount of detail and backstory to how the mutants came about. From what it seems like, the novel appears to be even more graphic and grotesque then both films put together.

Exploring The Hills: The Making Of The Hills Have Eyes 2 – Your basic “making of” featurette with what the essential focus of the film is about and then how everything was shot. Wes and Johnathan Craven again talk a lot in this feature about how everything is to be perceived and that there is much more to the story that the audience can sink into then simply what they view on screen.

Life After Film School With Wes Craven – An episode of the show from the Fox Movie Channel where three students sit down with Wes Craven and ask him questions about the film and his career. A rather interesting look into things as you’d think it would be the same information fed to us again that was in all the other features, but Craven goes even more in depth. He talks about where he got ideas for the story all the way through how he chose to make a sequel. A short but interesting segment.

TrailersThe Hills Have Eyes, Perfect Creature, Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, 28 Weeks Later, and Pathfinder

The Inside Pulse

There really was no need for the original sequel to be made back in 1985 and considering this is loosely based off the same story, there wasn’t much need for this one either. The film isn’t horrible, but considering how well the original remake was done, I was expecting a bit more. The effort just didn’t seem to be there in having the sequel be as disturbing as the first one (remake and original) but having it be only a little bit better then the original sequel. Sad because the potential was there. The special features were a lot more then I really thought would be included though as they range in over an hour total and are entertaining and informative. But for as good as those were, it really garners no more then a rental on a boring night. I’m still never going into the desert for hiking or driving or anything ever.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for The Hills Have Eyes 2: Unrated
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

5
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

7
THE EXTRAS

8
REPLAY VALUE

4
OVERALL
6
(NOT AN AVERAGE)