The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 (1985) Movie Review (Redemption Blu-ray Review)
The Hills Have Eyes Part 2
Directed by Wes Craven
Available from Redemption and Kino Lorber here
Reviewer: Horrorphilia Jason
The Lowdown: More of the same but probably not as bad as its reputation.
It’s been 8 years since the events that took place in the original The Hills Have Eyes. Bobby, one of the survivors from the family that was attacked, and Ruby (the daughter of Papa Jupiter, the leader of the cannibals), are now partners in a dirt bike racing team. There is a big event that’s coming up and they need to show off their super fuel that Bobby has invented to potential buyers. To get there they have to cut across the desert where Bobby’s family was murdered. Bobby still mentally disturbed by the events, decides to skip the trip, and Ruby now renamed Rachel, takes his place representing the company. While driving to the race, they decide to take a short cut across the desert to make up for lost time, and the bus full of racers, workers and their g/f’s, breaks down. While looking for help, they make their way to an abandoned gas station, and Rachel encounters her long lost brother, Pluto (Michael Berryman). She survives the attack, but Pluto and the new leader, The Reaper, steal one of their bikes and start to pick off the people, one by one.
Upon rewatch, this movie was a lot better than I remembered. Thanks to the awesome blu-ray transfer I was able to see a lot of the dark scenes better, so that may have had something to do with it. Don’t get me wrong it’s nothing original. In fact it’s pretty much the same premise as the original even up to the big finale. It’s not like an exact replica like Hangover 2 was to Hangover 1, but it’s damn similiar.
What I liked about the movie was how it tied to the original. At the beginning, Bobby is talking to his therapist and this is where it shows flashbacks to the original film. The flashbacks fill in enough background information without going overboard. Technically it wouldn’t be necessary to have seen the first or even remember it to follow what’s going on. Now I highly doubt in eight short years that Rachel would be “civilized” enough to be a business partner and fully “normal”, but I rolled with it. Not a big deal.
It was also far fetched that Pluto would have survived his throat rip from Beast, the dog, in the first film but I guess Wes Craven realized that he needed someone to be a draw for the sequel. Berryman was the iconic character remembered from the first film so it made sense to write him into the sequel. Not a big deal but they should have had him have at least a viciously scarred up neck or something wrapped around it hiding the supposed wounds. Since Papa Jupiter died in the original they had his brother The Reaper, take his place. The Reaper played by John Bloom, is also a massive dude that’s just scary by looking at him. I think he was sorely underused though. I would have loved to see him throw some characters around and tear some shit up but he only had a few scenes in the film.
Like the original, it was atmospheric in parts but lacked some creative kills or cool gore. The ending, which was too similiar to the original, was obvious, lacked tension, and overall disappointing. It was cool to see Pluto more, but I still would have liked more baddies to watch get killed off. If they would have amped up the gore then I may have even liked it better than the original.
The blu-ray doesn’t have any special features other than the trailer and a pretty cool picture gallery, but the solid transfer is enough to warrant a purchase if you’re a fan of the series. Awesome cover art by the way.