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Bob Says THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2 Is... (!!)

Merrick here...
Bob sent in this nicely done look at THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2. I, for one, was anticipating another visit to the land of nuclear mutant cannibal hicks. Alas, it seems this film might disappoint folks who enjoyed last year's visceral jamboree of brutality and carnage. Here's Bob...
Having been a fan of last year’s “The Hills Have Eyes,” Alexandre Aja’s (Haute Tension) remake of the 1977 Wes Craven thriller involving desert mutants preying on a vacationing family, I jumped at the chance to see the sequel. I also hoped they’d improve on the 1985 turkey, the original sequel penned and directed by Craven. Wisely replacing motorcyclists and experimental fuel with National Guard soldiers this time around, the premise behind the newest “The Hills Have Eyes 2” on paper looked like a cool cross between a splatter film and “Southern Comfort.” Sadly, this movie minus Aja also misses the intensity and gore of last year’s film. From the beginning, albeit a somewhat brutal mutant birth sequence, the film resembles something that would go straight to video. Sure a few heads get smashed, some limbs get chopped, and a gratuitous rape scene is included, but “The Hills Have Eyes 2” doesn’t have that level of brutality that made the first so fun for gorehounds like me. Most of the kills are quite cartoonish and campy; one involving a soldier’s body wishboned through a cave hole, and a forearm lopped off with the mutant then waving goodbye with it as its previous owner falls to his death. While genre veteran Jeff Kober (“The First Power”) may be recognizable, the remaining stars are unknown model types garbed in army fatigues who act stupid and spit out generic lines such as “God doesn’t know this place.” The acting chops of Ted Levine and Kathleen Quinlan are sorely missed here. To make things interesting, while our motley group of National Guardsmen and women are ill trained, idiotic in behavior and completely incompetent, the new breed of mutants are smart, quick and strong. However, this gets old quick unless the kills are cool or the plot is fun. We get neither. While it’s always fun to see how many blows it takes to kill the final baddie in a horror film, the hike through these “Hills” is barely worth your time. The final battle between the hulking mutant Hades (played by the same guy who played Pluto in last year’s film) and remaining soldiers is once again inadvertently staged for more laughs than shocks as his balls are smashed, his brains are picked and his eyes are gouged. While video directors turned first-time film directors are always apt to disappoint (Martin Weisz, this time, who has more than 350 videos to his credit), I’m surprised at this mediocre effort given the writing credits of Wes Craven and son Jonathan. While the story hints at a government project harnessing the power of the mutant offspring in the A-bomb charred remains of the a New Mexico desert, it only tells enough to suggest yet another sequel. Maybe this time around we will finally get the “Hills” trilogy that we were promised. But with the level of production and creative output evident here, we also may get “Wes Craven Presents Mind Ripper 2.” See this only if really enjoyed “See No Evil.” Call me Bob.
[[[e-mail Merrick]]]

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