The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007)

Starring: Jessica Stroup, Michael McMillian, Daniella Alonso and Lee Thompson Young
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 30 July 2007

A group of national Guard rookies, led by an experienced sergeant, have the job of dropping off supplies in an area of the Nevada Desert which is to be used as an army training centre. Years before the site had been used for atomic testing. Surveillance equipment was recently in the process of being installed, but when the National Guard arrives the camp appears to be deserted. When a mirror signal is spotted high up on the rocks the sergeant organises a search and rescue mission. However, when one of the female rookies is taken, the others are forced to follow her trail into mines containing violent, mutated human cannibals...

In this sequel to the Alexandre Aja remake of the original horror The Hills Have Eyes, the production has opted for the Aliens army assault angle. In this case, aside from the sergeant who is quickly dispatched (ironically, by one of his own number), the entire squad consists of rookies. In this manner it reverts to the overused characterisations prevalent in most horror films. The rules set up in the classic Halloween and spoofed in Scary Movie are still being utilised here with little or no variation in the structure. So, effectively we have anyone with any self-confidence being killed first, the more naive individuals surviving longest (I even guessed which ones), and even someone becoming hysterical before triggering a booby trap. And of course we all know that "I really think we're going to make it through this after all" is just a horror movie translation of "I'm going to be the next one to die."

Make no mistake, this is horror by numbers. The entire plot consists of the rookie soldiers following one of their number into the mines, and then trying to make it out again alive. Having said all that, it is eminently watchable, if a little needlessly predictable. The mutants are fewer in number this time and are less interesting, with no family structure. This sequel lacks the originality and more varied locations of its predecessors.

There are some nice special features here which gain this release an extra point: Mutant Attacks featurette; Birth of a Graphic Novel; Life After Film School with Wes Craven; The Making of The Hills Have Eyes 2; Gag Reel; and Deleted Scenes. But where is the by now expected commentary?

Ty Power

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