What’s a Blog-a-thon? This movie exchange is a challenge, its participants have chosen films the other has not seen to watch and review.
Marcey’s criteria for Chris: Horror Films of the 2000’s
Why Marcey Chose This Film For Chris: All it took to pick this one was for Chris to say he has not seen it. Well not only that but this is an excellent remake, in my own humble opinion of course. I do enjoy Wes Craven’s original, it is a harsh film, and a great follow up to The Last House On The Left. This remake though did all the things a good remake should do, it honors the original, yet it does its own thing too. It has a great cast, and Alexandre Aja put a lot of effort into making this a memorable horror experience.
Horror remakes have been rammed down cinema audiences throats for decades, many based on classics such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Wicker Man and Halloween. People have wondered why the hell would anyone consider remaking such classics of horror, with genuine scares replaced with generic jump scares and a strong focus on the blood and gore. A large number of remakes have been massive bombs where as others, very few mind you, have managed to win over the naysayers and become loved by audiences, critics and the original filmmakers themselves. One of these remakes that many have considered to be a ‘good’ remake is French director, Alexandre Aja’s remake of Wes Cravens, The Hills Have Eyes.
Released in 2006, Aja’s update follows Craven’s original story about a family travelling across the American desert who become victim to a group of mutated, inbred mountain people who were the result of nuclear testing in the region in the 1950’s. The film has the look and feel of a horror film that was made in the 1970’s with a low budget and some very nasty R rated violence. This makes the film feel more like a homage to the original, which is why many people have placed it as one of the better remakes to have come out.
Now I’m not a fan of the constant wave of remakes, reboots and sequels that are plaguing Hollywood at the moment, particularly when its something that really should be left alone, which is a thought process that studios wouldn’t even consider. I was never really a fan of Cravens original, mostly for the fact that it seemed to drag on with little happening before the terror begins. The remake suffers from a similar pacing issue, as it is almost 40mins before we actually see the hill people and the terror begins. Within those first 40mins you’re introduced to the Carter family, which consists of Big Bob (Ted Levine), Ethel (Kathleen Quinlan), Lynn (Vinessa Shaw), Brenda (Emilie de Raven), Bobby (Dan Byrd), Lynn’s douchebag husband, Doug Bukowski (Aaron Stanford) a new born baby and two dogs, Beauty and Beast. You don’t get enough time to really know these characters to really care about them when they soon become prey for the mountain folk.
When the hill folk finally make their appearance you’re expectation of their appearance isn’t enough to really terrify you, although the make up effects are quite good. I doubt that modern day audiences will find the new mutants as memorable as those from the original, with the exception of Ruby (Laura Ortiz), who tries to help the Carters. Hardcore film buffs will notice in the opening credits the inclusion of Billy Drago (Frank Nitti from The Untouchables) as Papa Jupiter one of the hill people, but by the time he appears you don’t realise that its him and then he’s dead.
In the end the real hero of the film is Beast, one of the two German Shepard’s who hunts down the hill people after they kill his mate, Beauty. I was quite disappointed with the film as I had always wanted to see it, but just kept putting it off for some reason, as I think that Aja is a great filmmaker, its just that he has dabbled in remake land too much, Piranha 3D being his other remake of a horror classic. Whilst I still think that it is a good remake, it just doesn’t hit the mark in the same way that the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre did, which I enjoy a billion times more that the original, which I always found to be very boring.