The Hills Have Eyes II

2007, Movie, R, 90 mins

Review

HILLS HAVE EYES II, THE
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CHUDs need women! The cannibalistic desert-dwelling mutants are back and lookin' to breed. On the one hand, this follow-up to Alexandre Aja's surprisingly effective 2006 remake of the classic Wes Craven shocker isn't as awful as Craven's own dismal 1985 quickie hack-job, THE HILLS HAVE EYES II. On the other hand, few films are.

Two years have come and gone since members of the ill-fated Carter family disappeared into the desert and down the gullets of a hideously deformed cannibal family that dwells within the long-forgotten atomic-test village and the surrounding radioactive hills of Yuma Flats, New Mexico. The enormous 1,300-square-mile U.S. Army Training and Testing Facility is once again being used to train soldiers in search-and-destroy missions, and to assist in the Defense Department's efforts to install a high-tech infrared surveillance system in the top-secret area known as Sector 16, a team of National Guard combat trainees under the command of Sgt. Jeffrey Millstone (Flex Alexander) are ordered to detour into the desert and drop off equipment. They arrive at the scientists' camp to find it completely abandoned, but a barely audible radio transmission and mirror signal from high in the surrounding hills lure them into the craggy cliffs, only to discover that they've been led into a trap: The hills are honeycombed with tunnels that enable the remaining members of the cannibal family that did in the Carters two years earlier to pick off the soldiers one by one in gruesome ways. But all this mayhem seems to be directed at the men of the unit, and for good reason: The family has been reduced to its male members and is now in danger of extinction. The needs of the family are really quite simple: To quote patriarch Father Hades (Michael Bailey Smith) just before he's about to woo a female private (Daniella Alonso), "Give me baby!"

Though written by Wes Craven and his son, Jonathan Craven, this is pretty standard stuff: A lot of creeping through dark tunnels with just enough characterization to help you keep track of who's still alive, but not enough gore to really satisfy fans of Aja's bloodbath. Only the transformation of the lily-livered liberal PFC Napoli (Michael McMillian) from "Doonesbury" into a savage killing machine gives any indication that the man behind the unbeatable LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT had his hand anywhere near this mix. leave a comment --Ken Fox

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