I know recruiting standards for the American armed forces are not as demanding or as strenuous as they used to be, but I have to believe that the US National Guard has a better crop of Jarheads than the ones portrayed in The Hills Have Eyes 2. This quasi-sequel, to the loose remake of the original 1977 Wes Craven film, is about a group of Guardsmen who have about as much smarts as every Red Shirt in every Star Trek series combined. No matter how horribly inept Private Pyle was in Full Metal Jacket, he still never reached the battlefield where the lives of others depended on his (lack of) quick thinking and skill.
This hapless bunch of non-recruiting poster types is sent out into the New Mexico desert to deliver supplies to a former military range, where scientists are setting up monitoring equipment in an old mountain mine. The residents of the mine are a new group of inbred, zombie mutants who kill all men and kidnap the women, force them to birth more mutants and kill them afterwards. Amongst this crew of organ banks is a gung ho scrapper (Jacob Vargas), a pretty girl playing soldier (Jessica Stroup), a single mom (Daniella Alonso), the one competent guy (Lee Thompson Young), a conscientious objector to the Iraq war (Michael McMillian) and their dedicated Sergeant (Flex Alexander).
One gets the impression that screenwriters Craven and son Jonathan were trying to make some kind of bizarro comment on the war in Afghanistan with enemies moving swiftly from their cave hideouts to sneak attack America’s troops. Mostly though, this entire thing is an excuse to indulge in some of the worst kind of worm-ridden filth. The opening sequence features a prolonged and disgusting birthing sequence and later scenes have the troops finding a survivor stuffed down a Port-a-Potty and then stumbling into the mutants’ abattoir as one of the women is put over a table to be violently raped by the biggest of the freaks. In between, the nameless twats (seriously, they’re pretty much only known by their nicknames) are killed off in a myriad of horrible ways from friendly fire to falling off a mountain.
The whole thing is a pathetic exercise from the peel-and-stick method of movie assemblage. It screams of half-assed Aliens except there’s no one even remotely worth cheering for. It took about twenty minutes by my count to get the hot, blonde guardsman out of her body armour and into a more revealing tanktop. As I said at the top, these are some of the most pathetic, most inept, most stupid troops ever to grace the 200 year history of the US army a fact more surprising given that this was made by the same corporation that boosts the troops at all cost on the Fox Network. But seriously, I think that the US government on behalf of the army should consider suing the producers for defamation of character. McHale’s Navy, Sgt. Bilko, Gomer Pyle and Beetle Bailey all together in the same squad would make a better team to go in with than these washouts.
I hope that the relatively few people in the theatre with me for this screening is an indication of the overall success of this film, and that this diminishes chances of me having to see The Hills Have Eyes 3. This is total trash with very little in the way of redeeming qualities what so ever.