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THE HILLS HAVE EYES
USA: Fox Searchlight
UK: Twentieth Century Fox
Cast: Aaron Stanford, Kathleen Quinlan, Vinessa Shaw, Emilie De Ravin, Dan Byrd, Tom Bower, Billy Drago, Robert Joy, Ted Levine, Desmond Askew, Ezra Buzzington, Michael Bailey Smith, Laura Ortiz, Maxime Giffard, Catherine Maisie, Camilleri Preziosi, Greg Nicotero, Ivana Turchetto, Judith Jane Vallette, Adam Perrell
Director: Alexandre Aja
USA & UK: 107 mins
USA Rated: R for strong gruesome violence and terror throughout, and for language
UK Certificate: 18 contains strong bloody violence
USA Release Date: 10 March 2006
UK Release Date: 10 March 2006
At the base of the hills
"Something is not right around here. We're not alone."
- Bobby Carter
In the annals of modern fear, few films have had as deep an impact as Wes Craven's 1977 cult classic THE HILLS HAVE EYES. With its gritty, ferocious and relentlessly suspenseful tale of a vacationing family who suddenly face a desperate battle for survival, the low-low-budget but no-holds-barred film was resonant with both intriguing themes and outrageous shocks to the nervous system.
Now, inspired by the wild imagination of suspense-master Craven - who serves as producer along with Marianne Maddalena and Peter Locke - comes a contemporary reinterpretation of THE HILL HAVE EYES from the cutting-edge young filmmakers, Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur, whose recent hit HIGH TENSION aka SWITCHBLADE ROMANCE aka HAUTE TENSION won acclaim and controversy for raising the bar on horror films again with its graphic, white-knuckle take on psychological terror.
Aja and Levasseur bring this chilling horror story of ever-intensifying dread hurtling into the 21st century, refashioning it with a raw, gut-wrenching realism and hard-driving visual style so that it might terrify a whole new generation of filmgoers.
It all begins with a typically dysfunctional cross-country family trip. It's the wedding anniversary of rugged Cleveland police detective "Big Bob" Carter (Ted Levine) and his chatty wife Ethel (Academy AwardŽ nominee Kathleen Quinlan) and to celebrate, Bob's asked his extended family to cruise to California with them, hoping the joys of the open road might help fuse their frayed connections. No one is particularly happy about it. Eldest daughter, Lynn, (Vinessa Shaw) worries about her new baby's safety and comfort while her husband, mild-mannered tech geek, Doug (Aaron Stanford), worries about close encounters with his father-in-law. Meanwhile teen daughter, Brenda, (Emilie De Ravin) detests the idea of leaving her friends for a family bonding trip, while young prankster Bobby, (Dan Byrd) is anxious to entertain the family's two German Shepherds, Beauty and Beast. Nevertheless, the entire clan piles into a weathered Suburban pulling Bob's beloved '88 Airstream trailer and heads west.
Then, Big Bob takes a detour. Suddenly, the Carter family finds themselves in a desolate stretch of desert, where nothing seems to be alive for miles. When they run into a little unexpected vehicle trouble, they realize they are in dire straits, far from help, with a relentlessly sweltering desert sun overhead. But even as they fight to survive the deadly desert, a far greater threat emerges. Now the Carters become aware that they are not quite as alone as they first thought. There is another group of survivors in the hills surrounding the desert: a genetically mutated, insatiably hungry, blood-thirsty clan - the terrifying offspring of miners left behind in the days when atomic tests spread radioactive fallout across the desert - who will stop at nothing to prey on the Carters one by one. Facing the very depths of savagery, the Carter family must pull together if they are to find any hope of seeing civilized life again.
THE HILLS HAVE EYES is a Craven/Maddalena Films and Peter Locke Production for Fox Searchlight Pictures. The screenplay is by Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur. It is based upon Wes Craven's THE HILLS HAVE EYES and is produced by Wes Craven, Marianne Maddalena and Peter Locke.
THE HILLS HAVE EYES: Then and now
In a career spanning more than three decades, Wes Craven has become a worldwide cultural phenomenon in film, television, and literature. He reinvented the youth horror genre in 1984 with the classic A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, which he wrote and directed, and in the next decade, he deconstructed the genre again with the mega-successful SCREAM trilogy. These two franchises alone have earned nearly a billion dollars and serve as a powerful demonstration of Craven's profound understanding of the often unconscious desires and fears roiling in the human psyche.
Craven's success in probing the nature of fear began in 1972 with his first film, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, and was taken to a whole new level of mastery with his second film, THE HILLS HAVE EYES which quickly became part of the cultural zeitgeist with its unflinching tale of a mutant family preying on travelers in a government atomic zone.
Craven wrote the script after being inspired by the infamous true tale of Scotland's 17th Century Sawny Beane family, who ambushed travelers on lonely village roads, killed them in unspeakable ways and then, shockingly, cannibalized their victims, living off their remains. The story is that through inbreeding the Sawny Beane family numbered as many as 48 members and murdered countless travelers. King James I of Scotland ultimately sent in some 400 soldiers and bloodhounds to hunt down the family's hiding place: a blood-soaked cave of horrors. After they were captured, the King had the entire family executed in the same manner as they had killed their victims.