A family of 7 are making a cross country trip for the parents anniversary. We have Bob (Ted Levine) and his wife Ethel (Kathleen Quinlan), their son Bobby (Dan Byrd), their 2 daughters Brenda (Emilie de Ravin) and Lynn (Vinessa Shaw). Also traveling with them is Lynn's husband Doug (Aaron Stanford) and their daughter Catherine (Maisie Camilleri Preziosi). While traveling through the New Mexico desert, they stop at a gas station and the attendant (Tom Bower) gives them some false directions that set them up to be hunted by mutants that have lived in the mines since the testing of the atomic bombs. The mutated people attack people that come through their area in order to survive. The family is forced to fight back or die.
I have the orignal on dvd and now, after renting this remake, I will have to own it on dvd as well. I had hoped that the remake would be as good as the orignal. Very rare for that to happen but they pulled it off. This is one of the few remakes I would say that is as good, if not better, than the orignal. Some things have changed but not enough that it changed the story from the orignal.
The effects was outstanding! There is a lot of gore so you have been warned. Reading some of the bad reviews, this turned off a lot of people. When you are fighting for your life, in the middle of no where, it's not going to be pretty. Of course, there are all kinds of bullet wounds, stabings and even a rape. The rape was well done, as it was in the original. You knew what was happening without being shown very much of it. What made some of the shootings more interesting is that even though they were bad wounds, the people didn't die from them right away. Fingers get cut off in one scene. That looked a little fake (yes I know that it is fake) but lucky for us it isn't shown for very long. The only other effect I had problems with is when one guy fires a shotgun into his head in order to kill himself. His whole head explodes which I thought was a bit of over kill (no pun intended). If you happen to watch this on dvd, check out the 'making of' feature. It really surprised me what was CGI and what was makeup. A good sign for a movie.
The acting was very well done as well. Not only from the family trying to survive but also the mutants. The cast of mutants is as follows: Michael Bailey Smith, Robert Joy, Ezra Buzzington, Laura Ortiz, Billy Drago, Ivana Turchetto, Desmond Askew and Gregory Nicotero. Everyone did such a nice job with their roles. Aaron Stanford is someone who looks his part. I mean, he is a skinny guy, not someone you would see as a fighter. In his role he isn't one, doesn't believe in violence and guns. So it is interesting to see the transformation he undergoes as he has to fight back.
I have been reading a lot of bad reviews. As with most bad reviews for movies I enjoyed, I don't think people 'got' the movie. Some complain (even in good reviews) that there is no plot to The Hills Have Eyes. I have to disagree with that. While it isn't a plot that has a lot of twist and turns, there is one there. The mutated people don't trust 'outsiders' and the only way they know how to survive is to take from others. They want to be forgotten so kill anyone that happens into their area. This has been happening for years and years, as shown by the crater filled with cars that Doug finds. The fact that they have been doing this for a long time, and are still alive, shows how smart they are and know how to get people to react in ways they want them to. On the other side of this, the family that is now traped in the desert. They have to learn to fight very quickly and use their wits if they want to live. Doug not only has to transform himself in order to survive but also to get his baby back from the mutants. It is not a complicated plot but it is there.
I will be giving The Hills Have Eyes the rating you will see in a moment, not because of the gore. It should be noted that I watched the unrated version. I love gore, as long as it is well done. But, and this is a big but, I found myself excited, sitting on the edge of my seat, heart racing and yes, even a little scared at times. This really surprised me since I already knew how it was going to play out. As I said, some things are different but it still plays out like the orignal did. Very few remakes are able to hold my interest as much as this one did. Because of that, I have to allow it into the rare club that only 3 other movies have made it into.
5 out of 5 Bloody good remakes