For the first 45 minutes of The Hills Have Eyes 2, I was prepared to call it a much better film than its predecessor. Much, much better, actually. It opens with a woman giving birth to a mutant creature, (although I assumed it was a stillborn), before being killed. Then we find out that the government has decided to start installing surveillance equipment in the hills from the first film, because the family disappearance of two years ago has freaked some people out.
We watch the scientists of the area getting killed, although how they survived longer than a day in the first place isn’t explained. After that, we move to a group of soldiers in combat training. To put it bluntly, they suck at their job. Their sergeant berates all of them, as they’d all be dead if they acted just like they did in their exercise. Just like the previous film, their cast is too large to describe, and I wouldn’t want to expend the effort anyway, as they don’t last long enough, nor did I care enough, to figure out half of their names.
They end up delivering a bunch of supplies to the now-dead scientists. They receive a static radio transmission from a scientist on top of one of the hills, so most of them go up there to try to find him. As you might expect, things begin going wrong. One of them falls into a trap and twists his ankle, before being dragged into the mines beneath the hills. A couple of them find a man trapped in the portable toilet, and are told that there are things around here and they did this to him.
If you saw the previous Hills Have Eyes, you know what’s going to haunt these people. They look like mutants, they’re really intelligent (whenever the plot doesn’t call for them to act like an idiot) and are ruthless. They love the taste of human blood and meat, while they have fun terrorizing their victims. The difference this time around is there isn’t that many of them, so they don’t kill the women — at least not right away. They force them to birth a mutant child first, and I assume kill them after, or rape them again in hopes to acquire another child.
At the beginning of the terror, everything takes place in the daylight. This is what I enjoyed most about the first film; it mostly took place during the day, yet still managed to be very scary. The first 45 minutes takes place outside as well, and is also quite scary. The mutants can pop up from anywhere this time, as they can even pop out of the holes in the ground. Every part that takes place in the daylight is great, but unfortunately, we move to the mines after the halfway point.
I saw it coming though. After the first Hills Have Eyes, where mines are mentioned by rarely seen, I figured we’d need to have our leads go in them to fight the creatures that were haunting them. That’s only kind of what happens here though; our group gets trapped on the top of one of the hills, and the only way down is through the mines. That’s good enough motivation, but I really hoped they wouldn’t go this direction.
Once inside the mines, the film goes downhill quickly. We get a bunch of jump scares, we have some shooting of creatures who pop up whenever they want to, and an attempt is made at claustrophobia, but it doesn’t work. It turns into a generic slasher film with a bunch of monsters instead of just one. Oh, and there’s one good mutant that shows up one time to serve one purpose that is never mentioned before and never mentioned after.
I didn’t understand these characters. They’re soldiers, I get that, but why did they all hate each other? Everything that say to one another is insulting, except when communicating with the two female members of the group; in that case, it’s flirting or insulting. Is this supposed to give us reason to like them? The family in the first film insulted each other too, but we could tell that they loved one another, especially when things got rough. This time, these people continue their insults even once members begin getting picked off. Why? I didn’t get it, and I definitely didn’t care about any of the people in this film.
If you needed a reason to dislike this movie, it’s because of how stupid it believes its audience to be, and how stupid its characters are. See, we know what type of movie this is, but they don’t. They have people going around making sure they adhere to horror clichés, while explaining the movie to us. One of them tells us that “they’re picking us off one by one.” Enough said. But then they end up splitting up, going off on their own, and acting like complete idiots, all while explaining the movie to us. I got bored by the end, and by the time it was about to reach its conclusion, I was ready to kill some of these people myself.
During the first half of The Hills Have Eyes 2, I was ready to call this a great film. After it ended, I found out it was just a mediocre one. The first half is so good, but the second half is just awful. I wasn’t scared after we entered the mines, nor was I entertained. There just wasn’t anything to like in the second half, and it was at this point where the no-name characters who all seemed to hate one another really got on my nerves. It’s almost worth a watch for its first half, but the second half drives it down too much to recommend.