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The Hills Have Eyes
Release Date: March 10th, 2006 (wide)
Length: 1 Hr. 47 Min.
Rated: R for strong gruesome violence and terror throughout, and for language
Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Starring: Aaron Stanford, Kathleen Quinlan, Vinessa Shaw, Emilie De Ravin, Dan Byrd

Directed by: Alexandre Aja
Produced by: Frank Hildebrand, Marianne Maddalena, Peter Locke
Written by: Gregory Levasseur, Alexandre Aja

Official Website



Review

Reviewed by Scott Jeffries
Reviewer Rating:


THE HILLS HAVE MUTANTS:

Well, sorry to spoil it for you, but there are mutants in this movie. No, itís not like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as these are nastier and a lot uglier.

Letís start from the beginning. The film is about an average American family, which means it's dysfunctional, forced to go on a holiday vacation because of an assertive father. Sadly, this is a vacation from hell. The Carter family, with Bob (Ted Levine) and Ethel (Kathleen Quinlan) Carterís silver weeding anniversary coming up, decide to go on a trip. The other members of the family are Bobby (Dan Byrd), Brenda (Emielie De Ravine), Lynne (Venessa Shaw) with her husband Doug (Aaron Stanford) and their small infant. They are all forced to take this family vacation.

Given wrong directions by a gas station attendant, they end up in the middle of the desert. They resort to bickering and fighting, but this changes when they realize that the situation is not limited to the fact that they are stranded in the middle of nowhere. They are stranded in the middle of nowhere with mutants around them, whom promptly take them captive.

The movie is actually a remake of Wes Cravenís 1977 classic by the same name. Only, Alexandre Aja, the director of this flick has chosen to be more subtle and less crude as compared to the veteran director. While the original was focused mainly on the mutants and not how they got there, this one talks about nuclear tests conducted in the area, with total disregard to its residents. The tests have changed something in the DNA of the people and these mutants are their offsprings - not accepted in society and with no means to survive except resort to a primitive state. The political angle is something new, which has been added by Aja.

The movie has a lot of gore and blood in it. Though it is not as crude as the original, it is still very disgusting and some parts make you want to vomit. Especially, a rape scene which takes place is so horrifying that you start feeling nauseated. There are broken limbs flying around and skulls which decorate the arid landscape.

All the actors turn into the characters they play and have done commendable jobs. Aaron deserves special mention for his impressive performance. The cinematography also captures the mood of the film perfectly - dry, and wasted.

But one thing which is badly done is that there is a mutant who lectures the family on how they donít care about others and shares with them the problems that they have faced. This looks like such a bid for sympathy! Mutants are supposed to be crazy and savage, but here is this one, talking about dirty politic and fundamental rights - itís a killer. But you soon forget that amid more blood and gore.

So should you watch it? Definately, itís sure to make you never ask gas station attendants for directions.

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