Since I enjoyed the first Hills Have Eyes, and since I enjoyed Wes Craven's New Nightmare, I turned this flick on the other day and laid back....and was thoroughly not-entertained. I had to know exactly what was going on here, and I read the stuff on Wikipedia. Apparently, Wes Craven did some filming of this movie, although it was not complete, and he got pressured into releasing it as it was, only making it feature length by adding some footage from the first movie in to fill it out.
This movie feels like it too. Now granted, it was already bad before you got the "lucky inclusion" of footage we'd already seen. The movie stars people that were pretty much not in anything else, in fact the main actress in this would have her career disappear after being in this movie, and you can definitely tell why.
On it's story line side, it's really not all that different from the first movie. Some people, including a guy who was in the first movie, take a trip in the desert. Because they're running late, they decide to take a shortcut, and of course their bus breaks down. So then they're stuck out in the middle of the desert, and the malformed cannibals show up to start hunting them.
The feel of this movie is all wrong though. It focuses a lot more on the villains, but instead of making them dark, it makes them goofy and stupid. Michael Berryman returns as the main ringleader dude who gets the most screen time. He's a good actor but his character is just written way too goofy and comes off like something intended for kids, if he wasn't trying to kill you. The movie adopts a much more "adventure" movie feeling in places versus horror, which feels very off. And then there's the "star".
Tamara Stafford went from two TV roles, to a very small role in 1984's Against All Odds, and then got the lead role in this movie as a blind girl. And she is just so bad. Bad puns and retarded jokes about seeing litter the script, since you know, SHE'S BLIND, and that gets old, but the actress is awful. She has no charisma, comes off like a fluff headed teenager, and we watch basically her every step throughout the movie. It gets so old, you pray to see her die. When the main sympathetic character just makes you want to kill them yourself so they shut the fuck up, it's probably not a great script/character.
I don't know how much of this movie being bad is Craven's "fault" and how much is the studio's. Honestly, the re-used footage isn't a huge deal breaker for me, the blind girl, the childish elements, etc are all much worse. The lack of blood is pretty noticeable, and the kills are also lame. Add in that there is basically no suspense, and most of the movie is very predictable. This is your typical "the first was way better" type of sequel.
I want to give it one star, for creativity, I guess.