I’ve seen The Hills Have Eyes before (the remake, that is), so I’m not going to write a full review on the movie. However, I couldn’t watch the film without writing some notes, so here they be.
1. I like road trips as much as the next girl, but driving through the deserts of New Mexico in the middle of summer while the air conditioner is on the fritz? Bull. Shit.
2. And, really: don’t we know by now not to use shortcuts? Haven’t you people ever watched a horror film? Shortcuts lead to death! Even if they didn’t, do you really want to follow the directions of the toothless old guy who’s clearly a marble short? Old, crazy men at gas stations cannot be trusted, people!
3. While we’re on the subject of rules in scary movies, though, here’s another one: when you stab someone with something, don’t wait for them to pull it out of their body and attack you with it. I understand that it’s very shocking to see someone pull something out of their torso, but the proper reaction is not to stand there, blinking like a jackass. The proper reaction is to run.
4. And, I’m just throwing this out there: if I was a boy, I would be peeing on the side of the road, like, all the time. One of my friends, Chris, used to tell everyone as a kid that boys were better than girls because they could pee standing up, and, honestly? It’s hard to argue that. But you can damn well be sure that if I could pee standing up, I would go behind a bush and not in the creepiest outhouse known to God.
5. Also, a bit of advice: offering to shoot someone with a nice load of buckshot is probably not going to get them to come out of hiding. I mean, it’s just a thought.
6. Overall, I really like the family dynamic in The Hills Have Eyes. Sure, some of the people are annoying—Brenda (Emilie de Ravin) is particularly useless—but no one’s so ridiculously awful that you’re watching the film going, “Die die die.” And they act real enough—the dad hates his son-in-law; the youngest brother annoys his older sister, so they’re not too lovey-dovey, Brady Bunch-esque. That being said, when shit starts going down, they try and fight for each other, and I like that. Their horrified reactions and open grief seem honest. I find them believable.
7. What I find less believable is the clothing these people are wearing. Yes, I’m sure you’re not supposed to strip down to your bikini and tan in the middle of the desert the way Brenda does. (Hello, sunburn.) But would you really be wearing fashionable layers, you know, a T-shirt over a long sleeved shirt, or jeans instead of shorts, or a fucking jacket in the middle of the day? Again, New Mexico in the middle of summer. You people are fucking psychotic.
8. “At least we can breathe now,” Doug says as he lights a cigarette. Heh.
9. Doug is played by Aaron Stanford, who plays Pyro in X-Men. I know this, I do, but every time I watch this movie, I look at this scruffy guy running around and think, “Pyro? That’s really Pyro?”
10. Also, I really enjoy Dan Byrd in this. I’ve liked Dan Byrd, believe it or not, since a bit part he had in a CSI episode. (He had a line that kind of hit home for me, so that sort of endeared me to the kid.) That being said, when you suspect that there might be a homicidal maniac out there, even if there’s a chance you’re wrong, don’t be an idiot: TELL SOMEONE!
11. This movie is fucking brutal. It’s also sort of oddly paced. The first thirty minutes you’re kind of learning about the family, building up the tension, setting up the circumstances, etc. After that, most of the horror happens in a sudden 15 to 20 minute burst. The last hour of the movie, well, there’s definitely death and action and creepiness, but the real horror of the movie happens in the middle, not the end. Oddly, it works.
12. I was surprised by how much I liked this movie the first time I watched it. It was another one of those, “Let’s pick a movie to mock—oh, wait, this is actually kind of good.” However, I do have one problem with the film, and that’s the crazy old guy in the beginning. He just . . . doesn’t really work. I get why he’s important to the plot, but there’s just something wrong with him that I can’t quite put my finger on. I don’t really like what they do with his story.
13. Finally, the Carter family has two dogs. They’re named Beauty and Beast. Isn’t that just fucking precious? Well, Beauty is not precious. In fact, you can kind of blame Beauty for everything that happens to the Carters. Her or Lynn, anyway. Although, I kind of like Lynn.
On the other hand, Beast is the best godamned dog ever. You take Beast with you into Hell.
I need a dog like Beast.