Oh, the wonderful world of remakes. That’s what the late 90’s and the beginning of the 21st Century has been all about. Hey, here’s a great idea: take a bad 70’s TV show or movie and remake it with the hottest teen stars you can find.
I think what the problem is the people making these remakes don’t have any connection to the original thing. That is, until now! The upcoming remake of The Hills Have Eyes is a perfect example of how to remake a movie – you get the original writer/director to be involved, heavily.
Wes Craven is the master of horror; I don’t care what anyone says, that man will freak the crap out of you without even trying. This film takes everything from the 1977 version and updates it to modern times, but still keeps the feel as scary. Ok, I’ll admit it, the original monstrous family looked very cartoony and cheesy; the new family is very much updated.
The story is the same – but, really if you think about it – the story is always the same. A family gets lost in the desert, they find a shortcut, but that shortcut was the beginning of their death. The remaining members attempt to stay alive and protect each other. Won’t these people start to get it – stay on the main roads and don’t listen to strangers telling you about a faster way out of town.
In the early 1950’s, the US Government conducted nuclear tests in this area. When they told people to leave, most people obliged; one family didn’t. And that family has been feasting off the years of unfortunate families who have been traveling through this shortcut.
What I really love about this movie is it could be a current film, but it could also be from 1977. The setting of the film is timeless and it has a very timeless feel. I really think that’s the genius of Wes Craven – he can make any time period scary.
As the catch phrase of this film states, ‘the lucky ones die first.’ Boy, is that true in this film; now, I won’t give away who lives and who dies, but I will say the ones who live take a serious beating. Bloody and gruesome doesn’t even come close to describing what happens to the ones who die.
What’s also great about this film is the actors in it; no one stands out as a tremendous name – there’s no Brad Pitt or Nicolas Cage or Angelina Jolie or Lucy Lawless, or any other star with a real recognizable name or persona. The biggest names are Emilie de Ravin from Lost and Aaron Stanford of X-Men fame – that’s it. But the key of this is they all shine! You feel for that family and you want them to stay safe and stay alive.
I think another factor is those horrible people who terrorize this family – not for what they’re doing, but what they look like. As I said before, the original family looked like they were designed in the 70’s. These guys were in the hands of some of the best make up artists in the business – Greg Nicotero and the people over at KNB. Yes, the same people who are nominated for the Oscar every year (including this year for The Chronicles of Narnia). It’s amazing what a little bit of time and money can do; just looking at these guys is scary and freaky. I was afraid of them, not only for their look, which definitely helps, but their attitudes and demeanor while they’re on screen.
One of the final scenes shows a deformed man in a wheelchair; at first, you kind of feel sorry for him. But once you realize why he’s there and what his role is in this family, your hate comes out immediately.
The Hills Have Eyes is just what the American theater department needs – a remake with staying power! And Wes Craven is just the person to do it! It’s a must see horror flick!
The Hills Have Eyes is rated R for strong gruesome violence and terror throughout, and for language.