Hills Have Eyes Part II (1985)

APRIL 26, 2007


Yes, the dog in Hills Have Eyes Part II has flashbacks. So what. No one cared that Rose was somehow able to recollect Jack’s poker game and his time locked up below deck. At least the dog was actually there for his flashbacks. So just shut the fuck up about it.

This sequel has been maligned for years for a myriad of reasons, so I was expecting the worst. But no, that is still Cursed. But also, throughout his career, Craven has had his ups and downs, so I really shouldn't EXPECT anything to be good or bad. Unlike Carpenter (his closest peer), he didn’t have a great period and then a shit period (i.e. if you watch anything from Carpenter post Mouth of Madness... yikes). Instead, he has always had hits and misses (more hits than misses, obviously) - hell, he followed Cursed with Red Eye, one of his better films (and also his biggest non-Scream hit).

Anyway, this wasn’t nearly the disaster I was led to believe. The script is pretty decent, even if it has little in common with the previous film. This is more a straight ahead slasher, albeit with (rare for the 80s) a pretty likable cast. Not that I am sad, per se, when any of them die, but I’m not rooting for the villains either.

The real problem with the film, apart from completely abandoning the point of the original, is that it honestly looks like it was filmed over a weekend. It’s almost like Wes went back to his porn days when blocking, staging, etc. Everything is just sort of there, with zero visual flair throughout the entire film. Setting early scenes in the San Fernando Valley helps bring the porn association to full fruition.

In one of the most curious screenwriting decisions this side of Best Defense (look it up), the film begins with Bobby (the kid from the original) recollecting the tragedy that befell Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother Frank- I mean, his family, in the first film. But then we are given cinema’s flimsiest plot contrivance in cinema history (I didn’t say the script was perfect) and Bobby is never seen or spoken of again. Yes apparently Bobby has created some racing fuel, and knows someone in our real cast, so he gives it to him (off-screen) and they are off to the desert to try it out with their motorbikes, leaving Bobby safely behind in the prologue, never interacting with another character. It’s as if they made the film and then decided to throw Bobby in but didn’t have the money, time, or concern to show him ever interacting with another character in the movie. For all I know, this is exactly the case, in an attempt to bridge the films together in a better way (as said, they’re not even the same subgenre of horror movie). But the real part of the film has several other characters from the first film, so why this would be necessary is beyond me.

I also fail to understand why Bobby’s dog lives with a woman near the desert, instead of with Bobby (and furthermore, how all the dirt-bike kids seem to know the dog and treat him like a human). Whatever, movie.

Look it’s still not a very good film, I would never say otherwise unless I was being sarcastic (which, to be fair, I’m sure I will). But Craven has made worse (with more money). It’s basically an average Friday the 13th sequel (complete with Harry Manfredini music that doesn’t even ATTEMPT to distinguish itself from his F13 scores. It’s even got a “ki ki ki ma ma ma” sound effect!) set in the desert. Albeit with dog flashba- DAMMIT! It’s impossible not to mock that in a review!

What say you?

1 comment:

  1. The point which isn't immediately obvious is that Ruby from the first film is the same person as Rachel in this film - this is how her and Bobby know each other, and they co-own the racing team. However, this doesn't really solve the problem of why she still chooses to cross the desert where she grew up.


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