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Film / The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

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The Remake of the 1977 horror film by French director Alexandre Aja, who is also responsible for High Tension, and starring Aaron Stanford, Kathleen Quinlan, Emilie de Ravin, and Ted Levine.

A typical American family is on vacation. They are soon stranded in the middle of a desert when their RV breaks down thanks to sabotage and end up being terrorized by a family who are mutated from nuclear fallout by government testing in the area.

A sequel was released in 2007. There's also The Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning, a prequel/interquel graphic novel.

This film has examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: Lizard, formerly "Mars", manages to put up a much better fight with Doug in the climax.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: Pluto may not have been very bright in the original film, but he appears to actually be mentally handicapped here.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: While not "attractive" in the traditional sense of the word (and Pluto being outright deformed by a rare skin condition), the mutants in the original film are nowhere near as disfigured or hideous as their remake counterparts.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Oddly, the film is a case of both this and Adaptation Expansion. While it adds an extended sequence in a nuclear testing town and adds considerable depth to the characters of the Carter family, it also greatly dials back and Flanderizes the mutant characters, who barely have any dialogue, and are portrayed almost entirely as soulless monsters, besides Ruby. Also, it reduces the role of Fred, the gas-station man.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • In the original film, Doug's last name was Wood. In here, it's Bukowski, which is a Polish name which literally means "of the beech [tree]". Thus in a way he is still called "Wood".
    • The character of Mars is now named "Lizard".
    • Mercury is called "Goggle".
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Bobby largely kept his feelings bottled up in the original movie, but he's much more outwardly emotional here.
  • Agony of the Feet: Doug nails one of Pluto's feet to the floor with a screwdriver.
  • Anyone Can Die: The promotional comic for the film plays this trope shockingly straight when Doug, the undisputed walking badass Papa Wolf of a man, and his baby both bite the dust. This was most likely done in order to demonstrate how much the new family does not fuck around. See below for further complaining on the subject and Canon Discontinuity for peace of mind.
  • Ate His Gun: Fred, the man who runs the gas station, blows his head off with a shotgun after he can no longer stomach helping the mutants to lure victims into ambushes.
  • Attempted Rape: Subverted, Lizard stops Pluto from raping Brenda but Lizard goes through with it
  • Ax-Crazy: Lizard, Pluto and Papa Jupiter are the most violent mutants in the film.
  • Bald of Evil: Pluto's mutations have left him hairless.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The original film was ruthless, but used gore sparingly. However, the remake is far more violent and brutal, with far more blood spraying and onscreen mutilation.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A pig seen at the gas station at the start of the film. Ruby switches it with the baby and makes a break for it
  • Children Are Innocent: the two youngest mutants.
  • Creepy Gas-Station Attendant: He sends travelers in the direction of the mutants, and in exchange is given any valuables the victims had on them. By the events of the film, years of guilt have caught up with him, and he commits suicide by blowing his brains out with a shotgun in an outhouse.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Literally, in both. And on a Joshua tree, no less.
  • Demoted to Extra: Papa Jupiter becomes a minor, non-speaking character. His role of patriarch appears to have been taken by Big Brain.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: Bob attempts to flee the gas station in an abandoned car but is subdued by the mutant leader Papa Jupiter who is hiding in the backseat
  • Dead Animal Warning: The first indication the Carter family gets that something is seriously wrong is when bobby finds the family dog Beauty eviscerated in the desert.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Lynn was on the cover, the Unwitting Instigator of Doom and the first to notice something in the hills. She died second of the human Carters.
  • Disney Villain Death: Ruby throws herself and Lizard off a cliff.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Literally, in this case. Doug's family had two German Shepards, Beauty and Beast. The mutants killed Beauty offscreen. Beast goes on to personally kill Goggle, and later Big Brain. The latter had, moments before, been smirking after ordering Lizard to kill the kidnapped baby out of spite. His death was neither graceful nor quick.
  • Driven to Suicide: Fred, the man who runs the gas station, blows his head off with a shotgun after he can no longer stomach helping the mutants to lure victims into ambushes.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Doug (and his baby, for that matter) in the comic tie-in/prequel. Not perfectly fitting of this trope, but they may as well have killed him off in the opening panels. It's made all the more frustrating to witness when considering the fact that the last time we saw him, he was practically a death machine who could probably vaporize all of them by simply dropping his pants.
  • The End... Or Is It?: As the surviving members of the Carter family Group Hug after killing off their assaulters, an unknown mutant watches them through binoculars. The hills STILL have eyes.
  • Evil Cripple: Big Brain. He's wheelchair bound due to the severity of his deformities, but that doesn't prevent him from ordering Lizard to kill Catherine.
  • Eye Scream: Doug stabs Cyst in the eye with an axe.
  • Fingore: Doug loses one of his fingers to Pluto's axe.
  • Flanderization: The mutants, though particularly Pluto, are now more monstrous-looking and feral.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Averted - this merely annoyed Lizard.
  • Ghost Town: The hideout of the mutants is an abandoned nuclear testing site from the '50s.
  • Giant Mook: Pluto is the tallest and strongest of the mutants.
  • Gorn: All the deaths are brutal and gory. Not a surprise, considering who directed it.
  • Gratuitous Rape: There is an unnecessary rape scene where Lizard forces Lynn to breastfeed him. The directors tried to justify this by saying he was hungry although it could clearly be seen that there is milk in the van's fridge.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ruby tackles Lizard to save Doug and Catherine and throws him off a cliff along with her, dying in the process.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Doug uses Pluto's sadism against him by pretending to be begging for his life only to wound him with a screw and put an axe in his head.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Big Bob tells Brenda to "watch [her] fuckin' mouth".
  • Hypocrite: Brenda refuses to look for Bobby's jacket, saying it stinks, but she later puts up her dusty bare feet on their table and their mom has to call her out on it.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Now, it wouldn't be a wholly accurate remake if the mutants weren't cannibals, would it? Strangely, though, most of the cannibalism is absent, and is only shown when Jupiter eats Ethel's heart.
  • It Runs in the Family: Granted, because of the fallout, there's no choice in the matter.
  • Kill It with Fire: Big Bob's fate, combined with crucifixion.
  • Man on Fire: The mutants tie Bob to a Joshua tree and then immolate him.
  • Mutants: In the original film, the mutation of Papa Jupiter and his children is only subtly hinted to be the result of fallout (though casting Michael Berryman as Pluto is a rather... strong hint); in the remake, it's outright stated.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Big Brain replaces Papa Jupiter as the primary antagonist and leader of the clan, but only gives orders from his walkie-talkie due to being unable to participate in any of his family's activities himself.
  • Object-Tracking Shot: Done in the opening scene with a fish in the river that gets caught by some scientists examining the radioactive zone.
  • Oh, Crap!: Big Brain is seen shaking after Doug pretends to beg for his life, only to turn the tables, and handedly kills Pluto right in front of him. He also has a clear look of shock and terror on his face when he sees one of their victim's dogs, Beast, is in the same room as him and poised to begin mauling him. And none of his fellow mutants are around to save him, leaving him utterly helpless as Beast attacks him.
  • Papa Wolf: Doug turns into a particularly badass one, killing the mutants left and right to protect the baby.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Lizard stops Pluto from raping Brenda by bashing him about the head with Big Bob's pistol. He then rapes Brenda himself.
  • Powerful Pick: The scientists taking soil and water samples in The Teaser are murdered by a mutant who drives a pick through their torsos.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: He was certainly childish in the original film, but Pluto's immature mindset is taken up to eleven here, to the point where he barely speaks and appears to be at least borderline mentally handicapped.
  • Red Right Hand: Papa Jupiter was going to have a parasitic twin growing from his torso, but it didn't make the final cut.
  • Red Shirt: Cyst never does anything any of the other mutants could have done, and gets killed by Doug without much fanfare.
  • Sinister Southwest: The film's set in a New Mexico desert.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: During the opening titles sequence, we hear Webb Piercer's More and More as we're shown footage of nuclear weapon testings that are intercut with sudden photos of grotesquely deformed babies and people. The pictures, accompanied by screeching noises each time they flash by, hammer the contrast between the romantic melody and the horrific imagery.
  • Stalker Shot: After the survivors reunite after killing the mutants, the camera switches to a Binocular Shot, revealing there's another mutant watching them from a distance. The tie-in comic reveals that was Hades watching them.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Pluto never utters a word throughout the movie until Brenda wakes up and sees him, at which point he screams a slurred "NOW!" into his walkie-talkie.
  • The Teaser: The film opens with Hazmat Suit-clad scientist exploring the radioactive site and stumbling into a panicking, blood-soaked man, before he and the explorers get murdered by Pluto, who proceeds to use their van to drag their bodies away.
  • Token Good Teammate: Ruby is this to the entire clan. She's the only one who seems to have humanity, as she protects baby Catherine from her cannibalistic family and sacrifices her own life to kill Lizard.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Doug Bukowski, the bespectacled pacifist telecommunications worker who, near the end of the movie, goes on a bloody rampage through the hideout of cannibalistic mutants to save his baby daughter.
  • Tragic Monster: The mutants, while horribly sadistic, may not have ended up the way they did were it not for their ancestors being nuclear bomb test subjects.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Pluto suffers this when Lizard stops him from raping Brenda.
    • Big Brain suffers a more subtle one after the death of Pluto, and orders Lizard to kill Catherine. He recovers his composure for a few seconds... only to hear Beast's snarling. He dies. Badly.
  • Whip Sword: Lizard uses a spike strip (the kind laid across roads to flatten tyres) as a flexible melee weapon.
  • Whoosh in Front of the Camera: One of the mutants does this when Doug enters the mine; passing between Doug and the camera. Doug turns around but does not see anything and continues through the mine.
  • The Worf Effect: Big Bob (played by Ted Levine who is famous for playing tough guys) dies first and without putting up much of a fight.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Unlike the rest of his clan, Pluto shows no desire to bring harm to Catherine, instead just inquisitively hovering over her cradle and laughing innocently. It's strangely adorable.