I had actually liked the remake of Wes Craven's Hills Have Eyes, which was shown here last year. Directed by Alxandre Aja, it was top notch violence and gore which actually sent a chill, because the victims were an innocent family out for a holiday, and to see them getting systematically deeper into trouble, somehow makes it rather horrific to sit through.
While its predecessor was shown here with cuts, The Hills Have Eyes II is shown here in its full gory glory. However you wonder, just where did all the blood and gore had gone. Written by father and son team Wes and Jonathan Craven, the follow up movie (also a remake of the sequel to the original) seemed to be lacking in flavour and spirit. Sure the mutants are back, but there's very little space given to set them up, or enough time for you to identify and distinguish one from the other.
Did director Martin Weisz opt to play it safe? There's tension built, but nothing too riveting. The narrative is simple and straightforward, without much thought into trying to capture the X-factor why the original had worked somehow. Attempting to shock just for shock's sake, the movie opens with the birth of a child, in the most un-Discovery Channel manner, before introducing us to the victims, I mean, characters, and a short scene to link the events from its predecessor.
Again the military's dirty hands are in this one. Gone are the family, and in comes a small squad of National Guard trainees. It's soldiers versus A-bomb mutants, so the numbers come in handy to build up the body count. But in fact, none of them died in any creative manner. It's the usual hack jobs, and more uninterestingly, through the use of their carbines. Boring, and I guess too many movies outdoing one another in the creative death department, has taken its toil on this one, where simpleness and sure death like falling from great heights without the camera flinching, go unappreciated. Truth is, you know that it's a camera trick, and boy, are there a number of recognizable indoor shots for this outdoor movie, that makes it look cheap.
By the time it takes for these rookie soldiers to complete their training to the dark side and become cold killers (fighting for their own survival), you'll be more than in a hurry to head for the exit. To enjoy this movie, the usual leave your brains at the door cliche applies. Just make sure someone doesn't take a real machete and help you put it there.