French filmmaker Alexandre Aja first gained attention for his 2003 film High Tension, a stylishly effective shocker that somehow got away with ripping off practically the entire plot of the Dean Koontz novel Intensity. The film earned him his ticket to Hollywood, and for his first assignment, he was handed the remake of Wes Craven's 1977 cult classic The Hills Have Eyes. Released in 2006, the film garnered middling reviews despite being every bit as stylish and effective as High Tension (while ratcheting the gore way, way up). Not that the remake is a great film, by any means, but it's far more effective than the original, which may be the most overrated horror film ever.
Craven's Hills was released before the advent of home video, when a film's legend often grew by word of mouth. It's for this reason that people remember films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween as being far gorier than they are—and it's likely why the original Hills is remembered as anything but laughably inept. Every aspect, from the acting, writing and direction all the way down to staging, lighting, and editing, is nothing short of incompetent, robbing the few violent setpieces of any power they might have had. It's a "classic" that begs for a modern critical reappraisal so it can be properly identified as one of the worst films ever made—that Craven made an actual classic, A Nightmare on Elm Street, only seven years later is utterly stupefying.