After watching The Hills Have Eyes 2 I’ve come away feeling horrible. Was it because the movie was nothing more than a shitty cash-in? Was it because The Reaper was nothing more than Mars with a new name? Was it because Berryman, despite being a cool baddie, was a lame and disappointing goof in this film? Well, the answer to those questions is yes. This film was crazier than Michael Moore and Ross Perot in a Pentecostal Prayer Meeting!
Bobby Carter (Robert Houston) has moved on with his life after the horrifying events he and his Family experienced back in 1977 at the hands of Papa Jupiter and his kin. He’s now working with a dirt bike racing team and developing a “super fuel” called Formula-2. Bobby is now seeing a therapist though and he’s trying to put the past behind him. The problem is there’s a bike race coming up in which Bobby plans to reveal his new fuel at but it’s located in the desert, not far from where things originally went down. Despite his therapist’s encouragement, Bobby bails on the team leaving things in the capable hands of Rachel (Janus Blythe).
Though the biking team doesn’t know it, Rachel is actually Ruby, one of Papa Jupiter’s kin. If you had seen the original (YOU BETTER!) you’ll remember Ruby ended up killing her brother Mars using a rattlesnake to help Bobby and his Family. Now, eight years later, she’s a clean cut successful woman looking after Bobby. I wasn’t sure if Rachel and Bobby were knocking boots and the film wasn’t all that specific about it either.
The Team hops onto a bus and decides to head out as soon as possible without Bobby but before they leave they make one pit stop. They bring one more friend along, Beast. That’s right, The Beast is back from the original film and he’s still holding a grudge over the death of his doggy lover, Beauty. For those of you that might be lost, Beast was the Carter Family’s German shepherd.
From the start of this film, you’ll know which characters will be surviving. Whether you chalk that up to the film being shitty or your years of horror experience, you’ll know. The main characters though are Cass (Tamara Stafford), a blind psychic and her boyfriend, Roy (Kevin Spirtas). Roy is your typical gung-ho, personality-lite character that never makes much of a difference in a film.
After getting lost, the team finds themselves entering the very same area the original films events took place in. Bad goes to worse as the bus springs a fuel line leak and they’re forced to fix the bus and hunt down gas. They all head for a small ranch, figuring somebody might be there to help them. Cass immediately starts sensing the presence of one of the psychos from the first film called, Pluto (Michael Berryman). While most of them split up, Rachel gets jumped by Pluto and he’s not in the slightest bit happy to see his sister. He informs her that The Reaper is staying with him and apparently, despite him looking like his brother Mars, he’s Papa Jupiter’s older brother. Never mind that the old gas station coot from the first film only talked about two children, a boy and a girl. Craven is just throwing us some contrived story to justify a slightly interesting character.
Pluto ends up working with The Reaper to start leading the idiot team members away from each other and one by one they’re all slaughtered. We even get the classic “let’s go fuck while our friends are missing!” and “Hey I’m gonna get naked and shower in this strangers open barn” scenes. By the time remaining team does realize Rachel is really Ruby, it’s too late. Most of the team are goners, Rachel is murdered and Cass is left to grope her way around camp until Roy shows up to save the day.
Pluto and The Reaper had possibilities but they came off goofy and weak. These rough, desert-dwelling psycho killers are constantly getting jumped and slapped around. In the end I started wondering what in the hell Wes Craven was thinking when he made this heap.
The FX was okay but there was very little gore. The whole psychic blind girl angle was hard to handle and in one of the boldest and stupidest moves committed to film…Craven shows us Beast the dog…having a flashback. Yes, the dog has a flashback of himself attacking Pluto in the first film. Pluto, might I add, has no remaining scars after this encounter.
Speaking of flashbacks, this film had more flashbacks than a Vietnam Vet in a shooting range. It was way beyond annoying. It was simply amateurish. This film was seriously disappointing. It’s never explained how Pluto came back after having his throat torn open by Beast. If they didn’t have to explain that, why not give us Pluto’s brother Mars and excuse away his presence with some bullshit about him having a tolerance to rattlesnake bites? Ah well, it probably wouldn’t have helped much.
While the first The Hills Have Eyes was an exploitation classic, this was just a pathetic excuse to visit the same well. Only this time, that well had bird poo in it. Don’t drink the water…don’t watch the film. If you do, be prepared for very little tension, fart in the wind characters, very little gore and wasted villains.