The Hills Still Have Eyes!
Years after the events of the first film, Bobby (Robert Houston) is still tormented by the memories of that horrific encounter. He’s moved on as best he can; starting a motorcycle racing team and creating a special high-octane gasoline that he thinks might revolutionize the racing world. His team is committed to a meet in the deserts near where he had his awful fight for survival with the cannibal family that killed most of his family. He decides he can’t go, so his partner in the business, Rachel (Janus Blythe), who is really Ruby from the original film and fellow survivor along with Bobby, goes in his stead. Of course, things go wrong, and the team takes a shortcut and gets into trouble almost immediately. It seems that some of the cannibal clan wasn’t dead and now they’re after the racing team and Ruby. What comes next is another fight for survival.
This one and Shocker were always tied for my least-favorite Wes Craven movies. Shocker is just too dumb and silly and I can’t get over it. Hills Have Eyes Part II I only saw the once on VHS back in the day, so I decided to revisit it. Well, it’s not very good, but it’s not horrible, either. Reading different accounts, it appears that Craven desperately needed cash at that time so he agreed to do this sequel, but the producers ran out of money before it was finished. It sat on a shelf for a couple of years, and then Nightmare on Elm Street came out so it looks like they slapped flashback footage from the original Hills Have Eyes into this one to pad out the running time, and then finally released it. What we’ve got is a tepid story that has a few interesting moments, but mostly is a by-the-numbers horror film. There’s no real suspense, the villains (despite Michael Berryman returning as Pluto) are cartoons, and the ending is more than a bit ludicrous. I won’t even bother with the dog flashback that happens (it’s…unique, I’ll give it that). This truly feels like a movie done for money, to cash in on something successful. And while it’s not so cynical it turned me away, it also didn’t really engage me much, either.
Hills Have Eyes Part II doesn’t deserve the bad reputation it gets. The movie is not great, not by any means, and it doesn’t really have many redeeming qualities. But it also certainly isn’t a pile of steaming cannibal turds, either. The story, as meandering and halfhearted as it is, has a beginning, middle, and end, and the horror isn’t awful. It’s just ordinary. Watch this if you’re curious, but don’t approach it thinking you’re going to find some hidden gem. You won’t. The hills may still have eyes, but they’re ready for night-night at this point.