Finding Camp in the Hills

Finding Camp in the Hills

Film Review

The remake of Wes Craven's horror classic "The Hills Have Eyes," aptly named "The Hills Have Eyes," is simply put the best adventure/slasher picture since Bruce Campbell raised his mighty chainsaw in "Evil Dead 2."

Not since then has a gore flick captured the over the top, beautifully campy feeling that all movies such as this should aspire too. "Hills," unlike many of the modern slasher films, remembers the reason those 70's and 80's slashers were so great was not because of the horror (who really found Freddy Kruger that scary?) but because of the fun. "Hills" embraces its camp in a bear hug, rolls it down a desert hill and then blows it away with a shotgun, finally standing up in an ending so amazingly outrageous it could only be excused by the blood bath that came before it.

The beginning starts off a little slow as a family gets caught in the middle of the Nevada desert. There are a few good scares and then one-by-bloody-one the family starts getting picked off by mutants who have been created by nuclear tests that were conducted by the U.S. government years ago.

It is not really clear why the mutants kill people — maybe out of some sort of vengeance for what was done to them, maybe because they're psychotic, or possibly because they eat the people they kill. One thing is for sure: they do not kill kindly. Keywords that come to mind are rape, burning, crucifixion and impalement.

"Hills" is not a new story, and even if it wasn't a remake it would still be old hat. It realizes it's redundancy through blatantly referencing classics such as "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and the aforementioned "Evil Dead," thus adding to the camp factor. What is more, by the end of the film, the shots and music are so overblown you can't help but applaud as the lone hero (I won't give away whom it is) dramatically steps forward with a shotgun and a triumphant orchestra explodes from the theaters speakers.

Buried beneath all of this killing and camp is an allegory on American politics (director Alexandre Aja is French after all). The father of the family is the right wing government, the son-in-law a far left liberal, the mutants terrorists and so on. Somewhere around the miniature American flag being impaled through one the mutants necks you realize that this aspect can't be taken too seriously either, and it really just adds another layer to the delicious cake of camp.

At the base of it, this movie is so flawed it is flawless. Aja, who clearly knew what he was doing, has brought back that feeling from the early slasher films. The feeling that the worse it gets, the better it is. He captured camp in all of its elusive glory and I personally can't wait 'till he does it again.