"Don’t tarry, and don’t take no shortcuts." - Price Marshall, surviving member of the Donner Party
The Hills Have Eyes may be set in the sprawling, wide-open and lightly radioactive spaces of the American West (and shot in Morocco), but it actually occupies narrow territory. It's a remake of a film that lies in a sub-genre of a sub-genre of horror. Back in the '70s, films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dawn of the Dead and Last House on the Left (along with an army of lesser imitators) combined low budgets and high body counts; full of lifeless performances and life-like (or, more accurately, death-like) makeup, they formed a sub-genre to themselves: Snuff-horror. Made in 1973, The Hills Have Eyes (the follow-up film for Last House director Wes Craven) also shares the same settings, look and feel of Texas Chainsaw and even Steven Spielberg's Duel, where the blazing desert sun shows the way to dusty death.
So, a snuff-horror desert-setting flick, with doom in the dunes and blood on the sand. The Hills Have Eyes, in its newest iteration, is actually helped substantially by the fact that very few people have seen the original. Directed by Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension), this version of The Hills Have Eyes is a creepy, jumpy gore-fest that should please horror fans – and, bluntly, it's hard to imagine the circumstances under which someone who isn't a horror fan would want to see it.