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Monday, September 7, 2015

The Hills Have Eyes, Part 2 (1984)

Critics give it a 3.6 on IMDB.  Only 20% of the audience on Rotten Tomatoes said they liked it.  Director Wes Craven has disowned the film.  So, how bad is it?  Not as bad as you might think!

H2 begins with two characters and one dog who survived from the first film.  Several years have past and “survivor boy” Kevin is sitting in a psychiatrists office, still trying to cope with the horrors he has experienced.  His trusted dog Beast is at his side.  Finally there’s Ruby who has once an inbred cannibal but has changed her wicked ways and is now a suburban kid enjoying life and hanging out with a motocross team.  [Seriously?  SERIOUSLY!]

O.K. so we’re off to a rocky start.  As can be expected the motocross team is headed for a competition and is running late.  [Damn you, daylight savings time!] Naturally, they take a short cut across the desert. [Didn’t Kevin learn something from the last time his family tried to do this?]  Naturally, they run into what’s left of the inbred cannibal family.

The main reason why this film does not work, besides the plot, is that we don’t care what happens to these teenagers.  They show few signs of fear and terror and seem to treat the whole affair as a grand adventure.  Furthermore, the once menacing Pluto, played to perfection in the first film by Michael Barrymore, is reduced in one scene to nothing more than a dog on a chain.

The reason why the first film worked so well is because it features an all-American family who is terrorized beyond belief.  Then we watch them devolve and become as ruthless as the inbred cannibals in order to survive.  It’s a brilliant study in human nature directed flawlessly by Wes Craven.   H2 has none of this and settles for far, far less.

A great deal of fuss is made by critics who complain the film has too many flashbacks.  There are not as many as one would think.   Furthermore the flashback that Beast the dog has is totally awesome.  How often do we get a dog flashback on film?  It’s cheesy but it’s my kind of cheese!

So while H2 is not a complete red hot mess, it’s hardly compelling film-making either.  But if you're really bored on a Sunday afternoon, give it a chance.  It might be better than you think!


For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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