Thursday, July 06, 2006

MOVIE REVIEW - "The Hills Have Eyes"

* As usual, I begin by stating that my only qualifications as a reviewer extend no further than my love of comics, television and film. I'm not an academic, when it comes to this particular topic. I just talk about what I like and what I don't like. *

Any potential spoilers in my reviews must be highlighted to be visible.

Plot Outline: Although I didn't know it, at the time, "The Hills Have Eyes" is a remake of a film from decades, ago, in which a family, travelling through the desert, finds themselves threatened by the descendants of miners, exposed to the radiation of U.S. atomic bomb tests.

The Good -
* the class horror premise
* the acting
* the make-up and effects
* the threat

The Bad (or just not so good) -
* the morbid tone (but mostly because we were hoping for "scary")

The Story
Okay. Here we have a horror flick, so I'm kinda grading on a curve.

This movie had what I describe, above, as a "classic" story premise: an unsuspecting, somewhat typical group of people gets lost in a rough environment and are threatened by the horribly disfigured.

Nothing wrong with that, really.

The Acting
The acting was top-notch. These were real actors, here - many of them very familiar faces.

Ted Levine, who's a regular on "Monk" and was "Buffalo Bill" in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, plays "Big Bob," the patriarch of the group.

Kathleen Quinlan was the wife and mother.

Aaron Stanford, of the X-Men movies, Tadpole, and many others, apparently, rounded out the cast.

The characters may not have made the smartest choices, but the actors who portrayed them, including the lesser-known thespians, completely sold themselves AS these poor and/or deranged souls.

The Storytelling
The story took a little longer to get going, than we would've preferrred. Once it did, it soon became clear that there was a different tone to this particular horror movie, than one might expect.

You may be wondering how "morbid" could possibly be a bad thing for a horror movie, but I guess it has to do with the fact that this movie didn't scare us so much as it creeped us out.

A lot of America has something of a double-standard when it comes to categorizing shocking, horrible behavior. In this case, there were elements to which we'd long-since been desensitized and then there were elements that just made us feel bad for these folks.

Also, there's the fact that the movie wavered between the kind of horror that you laugh at and the kind that makes people cry.

I can't say that our reaction was the fault of the filmmakers, though. After all, expectations can really color people's perceptions.

No, not really, although it was mostly entertaining.

If you wanna take a wild ride, this movie may fit the bill, but be prepared for it to cross a certain line that you may or may not be comfortable with.

If you have or when you do see this movie, let me know what you think.

1 comment:

West said...

Originally posted by doug:

'I don't know if I'd like this one or not. I'm not into horror flicks at all. Every once in awhile one will be good, but 9 times out of 10 they put me to sleep.

If I had to choose between being scared or grossed out, I'd choose to see some sick ass shit. For whatever reason, I rarely get scared from a movie. Something about horror movies always seems more cheesy then scary to me.

Good review though. The offer is still on the table. Don't make me beg.'