Them hills may have eyes, but they're missing a few other vital parts. This remake of Wes Craven's 1977 minor classic pits a stranded family and its vintage Airstream against a desert-dwelling batch of psychotic atomic mutants--place your bets! Director Alexandre Aja (of the delirious Haute Tension) stages The Hills Have Eyes as a pitched battle that owes as much to Saving Private Ryan as it does to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Hills eschews constant mayhem in favor of long periods of torturous anxiety, punctuated by bursts of extreme brutality and gore. Where Aja fails is in giving way too quickly to inevitability. Characters on both sides are dispatched in a series of short, sharp shocks which--while probably more "realistic"--keeps the tension at arm's length, as there's very rarely any doubt as to who's about to die, which leaves you free to ponder the artful splatters of fake blood and--regrettably--wonder if you shouldn't feel guilty for watching this. Which isn't to say there's something wrong with you if you enjoy The Hills Have Eyes, but there definitely isn't if you don't.