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PHOTOGRAPHY

THE HILLS HAVE EYES (Unrated Version)

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 108 minutes, two audio commentaries, making of documentary, music video, and production diaries

STUDIO: 20th Century Fox/ Fox Searchlight

RELEASE DATE: 6-20-2006

I really wished I have seen HAUTE TENSION (aka HIGH TENSION) by now because I came to love director Alexandre Aja's remake of Wes Craven's THE HILLS HAVE YEES. At first, I worried that I might be rooting for the mutated humans to knock off the family stranded in the middle of the desert, but soon I thrilled at the chance of the family fighting back. THE HILLS HAVE EYES is a string of recent remakes I have enjoyed. I have seen the original on the video store shelf countless times, but I have never seen it. Even if I did see the original, I think I would still like the remake better like I did with DAWN OF THE DEAD. THE HILLS HAVE EYES is gory, tense, and shocking. It builds momentum as I wait for the next thing to happen or what will the family do next.

THE HILLS HAVE EYES follows a family who gets stranded in the desert and have to defend against the mutated descendants of survivors from nuclear testing. You start with a few cliches like the redneck retired cop wanting to start his own private security firm, the guy he doesn't like that is married to his oldest daughter (the same guy hates guns), two dogs, two younger siblings, and a religious mom who ends up getting killed. However, this remake is slick and inventive and the cliches are just part of the set-up to the real fun. Love some of the casting where it is Emilie DeRavin, Robert Joy, or Billy Drago. Now I have to see HAUTE TENSION.

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

Another great transfer from Fox.

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Surround, Spanish 2.0 DS

Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

No complaints on the audio front. nice surround action.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

two audio commentaries were recorded for the film-

the first is by Director/Co-screenwriter Alexandre Aja, Art Director/Co-Screenwriter Gregory Levasseur, and Producer Marianne Maddalena.

The second is by Producers Wes Craven and Peter Locke.

I loved the second track better because they talk about the differences between the original and the remake, the filming conditions, and complain about the damn dogs. They also complain about the dogs in teh first track.

SURVIVING THE HILLS: THE HILLS HAVE EYES documentary- an overlong 50 minute look at the prep and production of the remake. They had to get a couple of scenes right in one take (with the crash being one of them), see photos of three different locations before settling on Morocco as the filming location, part of a deleted scene, a look at KNB's mutant make-up, the way they combined matte paintings and CGI and practical effects for the film, and a gas station that looked so real that people stopped by wanting to gas up their vehicles. Lots of interviews with cast and crew, clips from the film, and behind-the-scenes footage.

Also among the extras are a music video by The Finalists and seven production diaries (each ranging from 1 1/2 to 2 minutes long) that give a glimpse at the remake's production including how bad weather affected shooting of a the gas station one day.

FINAL ANALYSIS: THE HILLS HAVE EYES is a fantastic remake with a few good DVD extras. I just wonder if there will be a sequel.

this review is (c)7-4-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com