The Hills Have Eyes (1977)


Stranded in the desert on their way to California, a family is attacked by savage cannibals in Wes Craven’s brutal, low-budget horror flick, The Hills Have Eyes. I love the setting and tone of the film. The isolation of the desert location and the darkness that surrounds the family’s wrecked camper create a palpable atmosphere of dread and terror that’s hard to shake, especially when the family’s sanctuary is violently penetrated at the half-way point. I also like that you get to know the entire family before Craven starts killing them off. No one is safe, not even the pets or the newborn baby. This ‘anything goes’ attitude is the best way to create genuine terror, especially when audiences are preconditioned to believe that main characters, or likeable characters, never die. The villainous cannibals are actually the weakest part of the movie, dressed in unconvincing, trendy apocalypse-wear, and behaving a little too much like the bizarre family in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The cast includes Dee Wallace as one of the tormented and Michael Berryman as one of the cannibals.

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