A cult classic, the 1977 horror The Hills Have Eyes is one of the most well-known films by the late director Wes Craven.
The films plot surrounds a family, travelling cross country while on vacation. They stop at a remote gas station for fuel where the owner tries to tell them to stay on the main roads. Advice the father of the family decides to ignore thinking he’s found a shortcut through the Nevada desert.
While travelling along a dirt road they have a ‘blowout’ forcing them off the road. It’s here that the majority of the film takes place as the family comes under attack from an inbred group of cannibals who live in the hills.
Mayhem & death ensues.
Truth be told, The Hills Have Eyes isn’t holding up so well anymore in the visual department. Being a low budget offering made in 1977 means it looks really rough now. Lighting issues being at the forefront of the issues. That being said it does have a durability in regard to the story. An inventive idea that has been copied time & time again (including a direct remake) but nowhere as effectively as it is done here.
An impressive cast help keep focus with the likes of Dee Wallace, John Steadman, James Whitworth & Michael Berryman exceling. The contrast between the victims & their tormentors is an enlightening watch. One group terrified beyond belief, the other playful & sadistic in their behaviour. There is some subtle dark humour to the behaviour of the inbred cannibals, scenes that make them more then just your average villains.
While hardly an exciting prospect in modern horror as it has been done to death & often poorly, here the turning of the tables is handled very well. The victims stop being victimised & decide to fight back. It’s excellently done & the confusion felt by the villains is a lot of fun to watch considering what they have done up to this point.
One thing you can say for sure with The Hills Have Eyes is that it leaves a lasting impression. Now that’s a good horror movie.
The Hills Have Eyes