Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2011 October Horror Movie Challenge Movie 35: The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

This is one of my favorite horror movies of recent years. It's my favorite horror remake, hands down, and it's one of my favorite horror movies of all time. When it debuted in 2006 I went to a matinee showing the week after it was released, and I was so blown away that I went to see it four more times that week. I bought the DVD when it came out and I've watched it about ten times since then. When I first went to see it, I had never seen the original movie, so I knew it was about a family whose trailer breaks down in the desert and they get attacked by mutated cannibalistic humans who live in the desert and prey on travelers, but I didn't know anything else about it, so I had no idea what to expect and I was blown away at how much emotion the movie was able to wrench from me.

I cried when I first saw it in theaters at the big attack scene about an hour into the movie, I was sad and feared for the worst when the family decided they had to fight back, I flinched when I was sure I knew who was going to die, I was so impressed when that person finally fought back that I stood up and cheered before I remembered I was in the middle of a theater...the movie had that much power to move me then, and it hasn't lost any of that power over the years. I was surprised when the movie brought tears to my eyes again today, but I shouldn't have been. I guess it's been so long since I last saw the movie that I'd forgotten what made me go back to see it so many times.

I had a conversation once with some people who shall remain nameless. I went to see the Rob Zombie "Halloween" remake with them, and they were unimpressed with the movie and unimpressed with me for liking it, and when I mentioned that I had loved the "Hills have Eyes" remake, one of the group launched into a tirade about how this movie was sick and horrible and it had "things I didn't know they were allowed to put in movies," and how anyone who could say they "loved" this movie had something seriously wrong with them. I won't argue with you that there's something seriously wrong with me. I will say that you're far from the first person to suggest that, and if you think, after a few hours of knowing me, that you can point out anything "bad" about me that I haven't already noticed myself after living with myself for thirty years, then you're not as smart as you obviously think you are. I will say that I'm confronted with evil in the world around me every day, that sometimes it's so strong and so prevalent that it seems hopeless and it brings me to my knees and I don't know how I'll go on, and that every time that happens, somehow I get up and I DO go on, and I'm still here and still fighting.

I've never seen a movie before or since where characters faced such evil and yet managed to fight back, even when it seemed hopeless, even if it turns out to be hopeless after all, and they're limping and weakened and covered with blood, but they're still going and they're still alive, and no matter what happens after the end credits roll, that's what will stick with me. It's exactly what I needed to see then, it's exactly what's made me come back to the movie so many times in the years since I first saw it, and it's exactly what I needed to see again today. I'm not saying that's normal, or that there isn't anything wrong with that. Hell, I'd be surprised if there weren't anything wrong with me after everything that's happened in this life, everything I've seen, but this movie makes me want to keep going and keep fighting, and for me, that makes watching it worthwhile. Again and again and again.

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