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The Hills Have Eyes
Reviewed by Apr 25th, 2005

The Hills Have Eyes is put together slightly more effectively than Craven’s first effort, Last House on the Left, but he still had very little sense of the characterization you see in his later movies. And since you don’t really give a damn about any of the characters, you can hardly get caught up in whether they live or die. Though this is pretty obviously influenced by Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it fails to have any of the effective pacing of TCM.

We have a family stranded in the desert, who are warned away from the area by a gas station attendent (where, oh where have I seen this scenario before?). But their car breaks down, and two of them split off into different directions.

Meanwhile we learn that there’s a cannibal family living in the hills, and the young daughter Ruby wants to escape. The stranded family’s father meets up with the gas station attendant again, who tells him about his hairy “devil child.” You might have giggle at the story he tells, that the boy weighed twenty pounds and was born sideways, “nearly killing” the mother. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that wouldn’t have just nearly killed the mother, that would have split the poor woman clean in half!

Not a great movie, but worth watching for fans of Craven or if you want more of the “family stranded somewhere being hunted by a cannibal family” genre (though in that case, I’d just as soon recommend TCM). That being said, the cannibal family are okay, though not great by genre standards. Craven uses more effective plot devices in this one, but I don’t think it lives up to Last House on the Left.

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