The Hills Have Eyes Review: The 1977 horror classic gains more and more fans each year. Its brilliance went unappreciated in its original release, but now it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves. The real highlight of the movie is how smart and innovative it was. It was hardly the most influential horror film of that decade, but it still holed paved the way for modern cinema. Wes Craven crafted a relentless and brutal story that out the heart of America into a living Hell. The family we follow is instantly relatable and has a great chemistry with each other. This seems like a real family and not just another group of actors putting on a show. You feel there are relationships between these people and you care for their well-being. The villains are equally superb. Their contrasts and similarities, even the subtle ones, by Wes Craven are brilliant in their own right. He breaks down the barrier between savage and civil almost unnoticeable. These cannibals are brutal and terrifying nearly fifty years later and that’s because they perfectly embody brutality personified. They live off of whatever they can find with total disregard for human life and they even treat each other as potential victims. The dynamics between them and the family truly highlight the gap that becomes ever so thinner as the movie progresses.
The plot is also brilliant. You have an average family in the middle of nowhere without law or reason. When they are faced with abominations they must adapt or die and they adapt after suffering terrifying, brutal, and horrifying losses. The first attack on the camper is one of the most intense horror scenes in cinematic history. From there we are treated to loads of character development, ripe emotion, and superb character arcs in both families. Then there’s the cultural impact of these films. While The Texas Chainsaw Massacre started this wave, The Hills Have Eyes helped push creative freedom in the movie industry. Wes Craven went ahead and did ten times worse. The film helped push forward the idea that filmmakers should be able to do what they wanted without restrictions from societal groups. Modern cinema has great thanks due to Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper for their work in the 70’s. We wouldn’t have directors like Quentin Tarantino, Clint Eastwood, Sam Raimi, etc without their work. Whether it is in the language, violence or other stricter aspects of the film—films like The Hills Have Eyes helped tear down barriers and make way for a new era in filmmaking. This most certainly applied to horror. The golden decade that was the 80’s and all its franchise and stands alone are only here because of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, and The Hills Have Eyes.
Overall, this movie is a prime example of a filmmaker with a passion behind the camera. Wes Craven crafts a brutal story of survival with a phenomenal protagonist and terrifying antagonist. Are brilliant script and perfect execution make it the classic that it is. 9.6/10