3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Wes cravens best in my opinion.,
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This review is from: The Hills Have Eyes [DVD] (DVD)
Wes Craven began his film career in 1971 co-directing Together, a soft core documentary with Sean S. Cunningham. Cunningham would later go on to produce and direct the original Friday The 13th in 1980. Craven made his feature film debut with the gruesome Last House On The Left, beginning a lasting affair with the horror genre. Craven then gained some morbid inspiration for his next film, The Hills Have Eyes. Made in 1977 on a budget of around $250,000, this is one of the most influential horror films made. The story is about a family the Carters, that decides to celebrate Mom and Dad's Silver Anniversary by driving cross country and camping in a trailer along the way. Well, actually it's the father that decides that this a good idea and everyone else must go along with it.
As they trek along a "shortcut" through New Mexico they have serious car trouble, and are stranded in the middle of nowhere. This situation is made much worse by the fact that there are people living in the isolated desert hills... A deranged family of cannibals that terrorize the typical American family for different reasons: surviving, and the pleasure of torturing. The family, now, must try to survive in their tiny little dot of civilization stuck right in the middle of an unforgiving, big and bad primitive world. This is no contest Cravens best in my mind, he delivers a real, gritty, intense horror movie that in my mind is one of the best of the 70's.
The themes in The Hills Have Eyes can be interpreted as very deep, or merely as a scenario that leaves a family vulnerable to attack and terror. It's brutal and makes you wonder if it could happen to you and your family. Craven improved a lot and created a suspenseful, violent, raw movie. Those elements are covered perfectly by decent acting, an effective score and a perfect, diabolical direction. The acting is not the best especially by the blond kid who is quite obviously being played by a much older actor but it's comprehensive as it's a low budget movie. The characters are displayed in a manner that you can say there isn't acting at all. That way you can relate to them and later feel sorry for their fates. The film also introduced to us a young actress by the name of Dee Wallace who became a scream queen who later starred in The Howling and Cujo as well as other horror roles.
The villains are not likable, we get the creepy looking Pluto played by genre actor Micheal Berryman in one of his best and most memorable roles but the others were just alright. The actors just did a regular portrayal of serial killers but lacked of a heart to do it. In some parts the movie looked like a spoof but thanks to Craven's direction it stayed as a Horror movie. The movie wasn't as shocking as it's reputation and most of the violence was shown offscreen, kind of like Texas Chainsaw Massacre which was it's main influence. However the film still manages to be a great creepy cult classic that's worth checking out for horror fans, the remake was also brilliant and is one of the rare occasions where it manages to even surpass the original. Highly recommended.