Fallout, mutants and fresh meat, put all that somewhere in the middle of the desert of New Mexico where “The Hills Have Eyes” (2006) and you have your classic horror scenario. Wes Craven did that with a budget of approximately 5,000 dollars back in 1977 and we now get a visual upgrade to that 70s classic.
This movie is not for the faint of heart as it contains explicit scenes of extreme graphic violence. If these things cannot shock you then you will not feel the urge to cover your eyes when the axe splits the skull or the head gets shot off with a shotgun. The tagline states it already, “the lucky ones die first” and if they are really lucky it happens quickly. If you love birds, be warned, mutants bite off bird heads, squeeze their bodies and drink their blood for fun, it’s a known fact and if there are mothers with babies around they not only drink bird blood…
The story is very simple which is good since no one wants complex story lines in a movie like this. A family takes an anniversary trip across the desert, destination California. At a forlorn gas station they make a stop and the old uncanny guy there tells them of a short cut through the desert, say no more! They take the “short cut” and end up getting waylaid by crazy, bloodthirsty, flesh eating mutants. The show is on.
Where do these mutants come from? It just so happens that there was a nuclear test zone out there in the desert, test town and all and also a family of miners who refused to evacuate back when there were nuclear weapon tests. The survivors developed a certain appetite and hatred for anyone who happened to come by. Tough luck for our family and their two dogs, called Beauty and Beast of which Beauty dies first.
Sadly, the script is rather weak at times and the hero suffers from it. His transition from the cowardly weakling who brings back a brand new fishing pole from the “twilight zone” to the axe wielding terminator is not really convincing, somehow I was hoping he would really shoot his foot off. At least he looses two fingers and he does get beat up pretty bad.
All in all it is a solid splatter movie that has nothing much to offer besides its graphical violence, simple and straight forward. The fact that they used photographs of deformed embryos as caused by Agent Orange (Vietnam) instead of mutations caused by radioactive radiation can be blissfully neglected.