As long as i can remember, Hollywood have had a lot of problems with doing remakes. There are a few good ones out there, no doubt about that. But there are remakes that should not have been made, considering that the original film was good enough, and did not need a remake. A perfect example of that is director John Carpenter´s 1980 classic horror film The Fog. This film tells the story of small coastal town of Antonio Bay, in Northern California, where the locals are attacked at night by ghostly figures, that comes out of a fog. This film is a true 80´s classic, and proved that director John Carpenter could take on a different kind of story, in a small society. In 2005, director Rupert Wainwright ( who actually have made a really good film from 1999 called Stigmata ) decided to release his remake of The Fog. And this was a big mistake, since this film is a perfect example of how a remake should not look. I get hit, he was trying to get a younger audience to discover The Fog, and that´s not a bad idea. The problem with this remake is that it does not work well as a horror film, or a remake. It does not even try and capture the same creepy feeling of the original film. Too bad, because considering the previous work from director Rupert Wainwright is not bad, especially Stigmata. Let´s go back in time to the year of 1977, the same year i was born actually. This was the year when Wes Craven´s cult classic The Hills Have Eyes was released in America. This film tells the story of the Carter family, who is travelling on vacation across the desert, heading towards Los Angeles. But out in the desert they encounter a cannibal family, with deformed faces. This is a really fun horror film with a lot of crazy things happening, and it is actually a really well made film, considering the budget. And if you love practical effects, this is also one of the reasons why you should see this film. So in 2006, director Alexandre Aja released his remake of The Hills Have Eyes, wich i did not have any high expectations of, at that time. 15 years have now gone, and i have not seen this film for a very long time, so i decided to check it out. Is this one of the better horror remakes out there, or have this remake aged with time and lost some of it´s charm?
Retired detective Bob Carter ( Ted Levine ) and hiw wife Ethel ( Kathleen Quinlan ) are travelling from Cleveland, Ohio to San Diego, California through the desert for their 25th wedding anniversay. With them are their children Lynn ( Vinessa Shaw ), Brenda ( Emilie de Ravin ), Bobby ( Dan Byrd ), Lynn´s husband Doug ( Aaron Staford ) and their baby daughter Catherine. After a gas station owner suggest that they take a different road, this family have no idea what´s waiting for them out there, among the desert mountains.
I remember how susprised i was when this remake came out, it was much better than i expected. And seeing this film now 15 years later, i have to say this is still a damn good remake. It may not be as good as the original film, but for being a remake it is much better than most horror remakes out there. And this is because of director Alexandre Aja, since he is a really professional film maker. My first proof of that was when i saw his 2003 horror film High Tension, that was definetely a fun ride. A very brutal horror film, and you could tell that Alexandre prefer practical effects than CGI effects, and that was of course a very positive approach in this genre. The biggest reason why he have made the remake of The Hills Have Eyes so good, is that he does not hold back on brutality. You get so much violence in this film, that it is almost like having a wild butcher feast, that you simply can not miss. And when you make a remake of a classic film, you have to make sure to respect the original film, as well as bring something different to the table. This is something that this remake does, without copying everything in the original film, but add some other fun details that makes this film entertaining. One of the highlights for me personally is to see the desert people, who have been deformed by radiation. These cannibals are really crazy, and the amount of bodies they collect can be seen on different locations, especially in a freezer box scene. The acting in this film is also a surprise to me, since we have several great characters. A perfect example of that is actor Aaron Stanford as the character Doub Bukowski, who may seem like a soft gentle boy, who would never harm a fly, but turns into a butcher later on as he faces the desert cannibals. And i have to say, he did a really good job switching personalities, as he turns into Rambo for a moment. Actress Vinessa Shaw ( who some of you might remember from the Steven Soderbergh crime drama Side Effects ) gives a solid performance as the wonderful mother Lynn, as she is prepared to do anything to save her family. The Hills Have Eyes is one of the few remakes released from the 2000´s that actually proved that you can do a remake properly. Not only is this a perfect popcorn film, but this is also a horror film that still holds a great quality level of practical effects. There is no question about it, if you want to see a really good horror remake, this is the film to choose. A prefect gift to someone you love this Easter on DVD or Blu Ray.