Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hills Have Eyes 2 (1984) Why all the hate?

 Hills Have Eyes 2 (1984) Why all the hate?

Plot - 8 years after the events from the first film, Bobby is still in recovery from the brutal murders and attacks on his family. Grown, Bobby now owns a garage that sponsors dirt bike racing. Happily married to Rudy, he's desperately trying to pick up the pieces of what happened and live a normal life. It isn't until he finds out that several young men who race on a team he sponsors will be competing in a series of races across the state. Which means...the bus they have to take will be crossing the desert. The same desert where everything happened. Frightened out of his mind, he backs out of the trip which the racers will be going along with the team mechanic, and their girlfriends. Assuring him that everything will be fine, Ruby (now known as Rachel) will accompany them and bring their beloved dog Beast.

It isn't long before the group ride their bus across the vast desert as they begin telling ghost stories of the hills that have eyes. Clearly bothered by this, Rudy doesn't speak up that the very thing they were taking about happened to her and her husband. It isn't long before it hits them that it's daylight's savings time, and they are actually running late, as well as running low on gas. Deciding to take a short cut, the bus breaks down leaking fuel in an old mining town. The group split up, riding their bikes and looking around as the original clan from the first movie slowly pop up. It seems the survivors have healed up, and haven't forgotten the family that wronged them. One by one they begin to pick the group off one by one.

Lowdown - Ah the movie that's known to feature a dog having a flashback. Yep, you heard right. A dog...having a flashback. Hey, listen...I've seen worse, and I for one really am stunned that this movie gets the bad rap it does, even from Wes Craven himself. Sorry Wes, but you've made some reallllll winners in your career which make The Hills Have Eyes look like a complete masterpiece. It's taken me years to get around to watching this movie, and it wasn't until today being snowed in that I decided to finally check it out since it was streaming on Netflix for free. Now I'll be the first to admit, I really didn't give this viewing a fair chance since I was border line exhausted, as well as checking my phone, I wasn't exactly paying attention. Still, for the most part I followed the movie and actually didn't mind it.

It's been years since I've watched the original Hills, but I've always loved it and it features one of my all time favorite taglines.

"An all American family didn't want to kill, but they didn't want to die either."

Wes Craven knocked out classics between the original Hills, Last House On The Left, and A Nightmare On Elm Street before directing a few truly underrated gems in the 80's and 90's before going off and directing Scream. Some of these films were good, some bad...others ugly. This sequel, made shortly before his 1984 hit Nightmare On Elm Street is almost like the filthy bastard child of his career. He's since disowned it since the production ran out of money and he was forced to use lots of footage from the first film before going on to make Elm Street. He's even said that the only reason he decided to make this movie was simply because of the money. Sorry Wes, from what I saw for the most part it seemed as if you heart was really into this. Sure the film has some pretty awful clichés (they all forgot it was Daylights Savings?!) Also the group of young adults running out of gas in the middle of nowhere. How about the character of Ruby/Rachel. Why on Earth would you ever agree to go through the desert let alone take a short cut?! At least the Bobby character had sense!

The movie features a pretty great cast of new and old faces. There's Kevin Spirtas (Friday The 13th part 7 The New Blood, and Subspeices 2 and 3), and Peter Frechette (The Kindred, and The Unholy) As well as returning actors Robert Houston, Janus Blythe, and of course Michael Berryman.

I feel the set up of this film was all wrong, it held promise but the script was very weak. I think it would have been better maybe having it focus more on the Bobby and Ruby characters. I was interested in their relationship and would have loved to see more of it. In fact I was down right bummed that Bobby was just in the beginning. Also the Ruby character seemed to be the only good character for the rest of the movie. I loved the scene of her and her brother fighting again, I feel that scene could have been much more epic but nevertheless great to have them see each other again.

The deaths were so-so, and everything was super dark. I felt the explosion in the end was trying too hard to beat the original, and the over all final chapter just didn't add up to much. It was a slasher pretty much with these teens getting knocked off one by one. Instead Wes should have focused more on the film's original roots and maybe have it be about Bobby and Ruby returning to the desert ti face their fears.

Still compared to the the remake's sequel this is MUCH MUCH better.

The film had great returning actors, lots of cheesy 80's action, and of course Beast the dog! Trust me, that dog kicks more ass than any human in both movies.

So if you have Netflix, go and check it out. It's a good enough time, and really not Wes Craven's worse.

3 stars

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