starring Aaron Stanford, Kathleen Quinlan, Vinessa Shaw, Emilie de Ravin
screenplay by Alexandre Aja & Grégory Levasseur, based on the screenplay by Wes Craven
directed by Alexandre Aja
by Walter Chaw Alexandre Aja's follow-up to his hateful-but-effective High Tension is a hateful but not particularly effective remake of Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes. Opening exactly as Dr. Strangelove ends, with a montage of mushroom clouds set to soothing WWII-era croons (shock-cut with babies deformed by Agent Orange), the film all but declares itself a sardonic satire of the madness driving the United States' military policy where the original was pretty much a look at the country's simmering caste divide. Aja hopes to draw a line from the atrocities committed in Vietnam to atrocities committed in the desert against enemies of Our Own Making--and along the way, should a throwaway jab at the plight of subsistence miners be hurled and a few mutants get impaled by sharpened American flags, well, so be it. I'm not saying that there's nothing rotten in the state of Denmark, I'm saying that I don't care for a French filmmaker making a contemptuous, smug, proselytizing allegory about the legacy of Yankee colonial/expansionist violence. I don't buy Aja's outrage as anything more than practiced and ill-considered, the equivalent of those sick fuckers who drive around with pictures of aborted fetuses on the sides of their vans or set up haunted houses in their churches with any number of right-winger nightmares. As it doesn't teach anything new in any ways that are imaginative or truly horrifying, only the true believers are gratified, and then only by those same florid, ignorant little jabs.