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The Horror Remake You Should Watch Before It Disappears From HBO Max

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After The Last House on the Left but before A Nightmare on Elm Street, director and horror legend Wes Craven took a brief detour. The Hills Have Eyes put both Craven and the fictional Carter family on a long, lonely stretch of road occupied by nothing but buzzards and a family of hillbilly cannibals. The 1977 picture found success — unsurprising given the popularity of darker horror films throughout the 1970s. However, as is sometimes the case with sequels, when The Hills Have Eyes got its follow-up, the shoot was plagued with problems leading the final product to be a mess of half-finished filming and rehashed scenes from the first film.

The Hills Have Eyes Part II was not a fitting way for a would-be franchise with so much potential to carry on. Thankfully, we finally got a worthy successor in the form of a 2006 The Hills Have Eyes remake produced and approved by Craven. The 2000s were an era of horror filled out by American takes on the brutal New French Extremity sub genre: Hostel, Cabin Fever, Saw, and — the franchise arguably most influenced by The Hills Have Eyes – Wrong Turn.

Good timing isn't enough to make a movie good, though, so let's talk about what makes the 2006 The Hills Have Eyes remake stand out even from the Wes Craven original, and why you might want to stream it now on HBO Max.

The Hills Have Eyes fits perfectly with 2000s horror

The first thing to know about the 2006 The Hills Have Eyes remake is that it is directed by Alexandre Aja. Aja's most recent theatrical horror film Crawl was well liked by action and horror fans for its ability to take a Sharknado-esque concept and deliver on it with genuine thrills and scares — like a modern day Jaws, but with alligators. But long-time horror fans know Aja for his adaptation of Joe Hill's book Horns, the delightful Jaws send-up Piranha 3D, and P2, one of the scariest Christmas horror movies of all time.

Aja's The Hills Have Eyes remake is similar in a lot of ways to the Fede Alvarez's remake of Evil Dead: It takes most of the original's concepts and then adds a little extra. For example, it's far more explicit that the cannibal hillbillies are also radioactive. Because there were scientists responsible for the state of our villains, they get a little more sympathy — before they lose it all with ax murders, immolations, and the like.

There's a solid cast, too. Most notably, there's Ted Levine, who even non-horror fans will recognize as Jame Gumb a.k.a. Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs. TV watchers will recognize a lot of faces, too. Kathleen Quinlin recently featured on the Marvel series Runaways, Dan Byrd played Travis Cobb on the hilarious Courteney Cox comedy Cougar Town, and Emilie de Ravin played Belle on Once Upon A Time for a whopping seven seasons.

The Hills Have Eyes is on HBO Max now. If you dig the ultra-violent horror of the 2000s, this remake is a must watch.