The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

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A family driving through the desert in their mobile home are hijacked by a group of mutants living amongst the ruins of a nuclear test site.

I hated the original version of this movie with a passion; it seemed to me to be a collection of gratuitous ugliness aimed at voyeuristic sadists. As far as this remake goes, thankfully the script actually bothers to make the victims reasonably sketched out characters and they are in fact quite a likeable, mildly dysfunctional bunch; pretty much like an ordinary family. It also avoids visual gimmickry such as the dreaded shaky cam, which I was thankful for and it kept my attention until the end. On the other hand, it ticks a lot of the “crap horror movie” boxes; namely it contains the lines “Why are you doing this to us?” and “I’m so scared”. It has a weak and contrived back story to excuse the carnage. It has mysterious shapes running around in the foreground/background. It shows far more ugly violence than it really needs to in order to facilitate the story. Plus the score is one of the worst I’ve ever heard – it actually has a rousing, cheer-leading crescendo while someone is having their head bashed in and being blown apart by a shotgun as if you’re suppose to be excited by the fact.

I know there is a market for this kind of thing and it does have some small cinematic merit in that it’s directed and acted reasonably well – which is more than I can say for the original. But personally I find it very hard to enjoy watching people being brutalised and sexually abused, and don’t really feel like cheering when someone has an axe buried repeatedly in their spine; no matter how much they are supposed to have “deserved” it.

4/10

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