‘The lucky ones die first’
The Hills Have Eyes is a 2006 action horror feature film and remake of Wes Craven’s 1977 film The Hills Have Eyes. Written by filmmaking partners Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur of the French horror film Haute Tension, and directed by Aja, the film follows a family which becomes the target of a group of murderous mutants after their car breaks down in the desert.
The film earned $15.5 million in its opening weekend in the United States, where it was originally rated NC-17 for strong gruesome violence, but was later edited down to an R-rating. An unrated Blu-ray release, ‘the version to die for’, has since been issued.
Wes Craven, director and writer of the original film, considered a remake after he saw the success of other horror remakes such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amityville Horror. The search then began for filmmakers to helm the project. Marianne Maddalena, Craven’s long time producing partner, came across Alexandre Aja and his art director/collaborator Grégory Levasseur who had previously made the French slasher film Haute Tension. After showing the film to Craven and the rest of the production crew, they were impressed with the pair.
Prior to filming, Aja and Levasseur had already conceived an idea for the mutants’ appearance. “We based all our descriptions and directions on real documents, pictures and footage that we found on the effects of nuclear fallout in Chernobyl and Hiroshima”, explained Aja. The Hills Have Eyes utilized the KNB EFX Group Inc. who had done previous work on projects such as The Walking Dead and Sin City.
“… a refreshingly good remake. I think Aja actually made some marked improvements over the original Wes Craven film. The remake is a different film from Craven’s, but that’s one of the things that makes The Hills Have Eyes (2006) so effective.” Scott Lecter, DVD Talk
“Gore fans will love this flick’s extremely violent scenes, but those looking for genuine scares will be left unfulfilled. Hills goes out of its way to terrorize its audience but rather than take the cerebral highway, it goes for the gross-out shortcut, and breaks down halfway home.” Movie Metropolis
Cast and characters:
- Aaron Stanford as Doug Bukowski
- Kathleen Quinlan as Ethel Carter
- Vinessa Shaw as Lynn Carter-Bukowski
- Emilie de Ravin as Brenda Carter
- Dan Byrd as Bobby Carter
- Tom Bower as Jeb, the Gas Station Attendant
- Billy Drago as Papa Jupiter
- Robert Joy as Lizard
- Ted Levine as “Big” Bob Carter
- Desmond Askew as Big Brain
- Ezra Buzzington as Goggle
- Michael Bailey Smith as Pluto
- Laura Ortiz as Ruby
- Maisie Camilleri Preziosi as Catherine Bukowski
- Gregory Nicotero as Cyst
- Ivana Turchetto as Big Mama
- Maxime Giffard as First Victim
- Judith Jane Vallette as Venus
- Adam Perrell as Mercury
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