Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The Hills Have Eyes
Posted by Octopunk
Okay, this is my last mad hillbilly movie. I'm putting the rest off till next year, but I didn't want to wait for this one. Everything I'd heard about this when it came out sounded good, and Summerisle's and JPX's reviews clinched it. It did not disappoint.
Unlike those two amateurs, I actually saw the original, and the new one follows the old one's plot pretty closely. In both, the conflict happens in two rounds, with the Hill Folk overwhelmingly winning round one. And in both, round two is a story of family vs. family, and nothing gets more primal than that. And speaking of primal, these cannibals make the Hewitts look like Julia freakin' Child.
The reinvention of the Hill Folk as Radioactive Hill Folk is a fantastic choice, and it's played to the hilt. There are great places to visit, like the atomic test village full of mannequins or the bomb crater where all the cars get dumped (one character juuust misses seeing the bloody handprints on the other side of a Volvo while he's junk-shopping). And the makeup on these freaks is A-plus stuff. My favorite was the big angry rutabaga head guy, with the head brace like Myron Stackpool's.
Much like Alexandre Aja's High Tension, the violence in this story is artful while brutally matter-of-fact. And while there is plenty of pain doled out in Hills, I feel this is a notch above much of the torture-based cringing that's been on tap lately. I've also been inspired to add a new "best" to our "best of" wrap-up, and that's Best Victim Turned Badass.
Also notable: the desert setting seemed downright exotic after all those Texas fields. I loved that the good guys not only had a sacrificial dog for an offscreen death yelp, they also had a killer revenge dog. And never, ever dispatch a foe and then drop your gun on the ground and turn your back on the "corpse." C'mon, Alexandre, you sick Frenchman, you know better than that.
So remember, if you're driving on a lonely road in the middle of wide, lawless country, it's always a good idea to pack an extra car.
at 11:01 PM