THE HILLS HAVE EYES PART 2
Review by Michael Jacobson
John Laughlin, Michael Berryman, John Bloom, Tamara Stafford, Janus
Director: Wes Craven
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio: Image Entertainment
Features: Theatrical Trailer
Length: 87 Minutes
Release Date: September 3, 2002
never should have gotten off the road.”
hills have eyes, and the dogs have flashbacks, in one of the most bizarre horror
sequels ever filmed.
seems that Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 is nearly
universally regarded as the worst of the worst when it comes to said horror
sequels (come ON, this is a genre that produced no less than nine sequels
to Friday the 13th!). Truth
be told, it’s not that bad. It’s
not that good, either, but it doesn’t help that it’s the seven year
follow-up to a truly landmark fright film.
2 has very
little going for it, relying instead on a few lengthy flashbacks to the first
movie to establish some semblance of terror (and yes, as mentioned, the dog has
one, too). The original centered
around the clash between two families: one
group of people lost in the desert, and one group of preying cannibalistic hill
dwellers. The sequel returns two of
the victimized characters: one is
too scared to return to the site of the murderous mayhem, and the other isn’t,
but later wishes she had been.
are part of a young motocross team en route to a big event via bus.
As fate would have it, NOBODY on the bus on the date of their much
anticipated race remembered to set their clocks back.
Their only solution is to try and cross the desert to make up for lost
time. Bad idea.
vehicle breaks down (of course), and soon the kids find themselves facing our
old friend Pluto (Berryman), the bald menacing member of the Jupiter family.
Jupiter died in the original; here we get a brother that was never
mentioned before, called The Reaper (Bloom), a rather unsettling looking ogre.
Now they not only have the chance to kill again, but to exact revenge
against a former one of their own.
of this, as mentioned, isn’t really so bad…it’s just not very inspired,
considering it’s from the same man who brought Nightmare on Elm Street to
the screen a year earlier! It seems
hastily put together and shoddily constructed from start to finish.
The violence is somewhat limited, except for a rather gruesome
throat-slitting, and the victim characters are completely blah compared to the
villains…and then, we don’t get enough time with those villains.
The only interesting “good guy” is Cass (Stafford), a blind girl who
makes a few too many self-depreciating jokes, and actually goes off exploring by
herself in a strange cabin!
no, The Hills Have Eyes 2 doesn’t merit the distinction of worst horror
sequel ever, at least not in my book. It
merely bears the non-distinction of being an average, by-the-numbers and
decidedly poor attempt to cash in on a much better preceding film.
never seen this movie in widescreen, so I don’t know whether the full frame
presentation is director’s choice or not.
As far as I could tell, I didn’t notice any misframing to the left and
right, just some occasionally awkward looking shots around the top and bottom,
leading me to believe this is just an open matte presentation.
The real problem is the film itself, which isn’t in the best shape in
the world. The opening and ending
stretches are particularly murky with residue, grain and other interfering
factors present. As the movie
progresses, it gets a bit better. Colors come across well…that red bus is a very distinct
shade of red…and images get clearer and show more definition. The overall dinginess can only be attributed to age, and not
the transfer offered here by Image. Basically,
it needs a restoration job…and frankly, I don’t see that happening any time
mono soundtrack is a little better than average here, owing to a few sequences
that kick up the volume in just the right places, giving it some dynamic range.
Dialogue is clear, and I didn’t really notice much in the way of noise
during the quieter parts. The score
by Harry Manfredini sounds fine, as well. No