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Poster for The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
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The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

Director: Alexandre Aja Run Time: 107 min. Format: 35mm Rating: R Release Year: 2006

Starring: Aaron Stanford, Kathleen Quinlan, Vinessa Shaw, Emilie de Ravin, Dan Byrd, Tom Bower

With a pounding soundtrack and gore-galore, The Hills Have Eyes is about as subtle as a blow to the skull. The carnage begins immediately as a hazmat wearing group measuring radiation in the desert are besieged by the local mutants, with the following opening credits juxtaposing archival footage of nuclear blasts with a variety of deformities. When we meet the Carter family, road tripping to California, they aren’t the soft type – they carry guns and have German Shepherds – yet they are no match for the trap set by the amoral hill-dwellers.

Intrigued by the success of other remakes, Wes Craven tapped filmmaking team Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur, impressed by their French Extremity High Tension, to redo his 1977 film. They effectively ramp up the grotesquery and add their own touches, including a haunting sequence in an abandoned nuclear test site eerily populated with mannequins. This movie pulls no punches and is not for the easily queasy.