Here we go again: a soundtrack of stringed instruments stirred up like hornets, punctuated by sudden thuds; limbs separated from torsos; anguished screams; congealed brain matter that looks like doughnut discharge; and grown men cavorting around in makeup that looks like .
Never mind. What else is there, really, to say about "The Hills Have Eyes 2," the sequel to last year's remake of the 1977 Wes Craven splatter classic about marauding mutants in the southwestern U.S.? Only that this one drags a platoon of National Guard soldiers to their all-but-certain deaths at the gnarled hands of radiation-enhanced ghouls. You know they're ripe for slaughter because they can't even get through a training session in Middle Eastern street fighting without messing up big time.
This contingent includes the requisite blustering hothead (Jacob Vargas), the requisite good-natured wimp (Michael McMillan), a couple of requisite idiots (pick any two) and a couple of cute women (Daniella Alonso, Jessica Stroup). From the time they arrive in the middle of the former nuclear testing range from which few have emerged alive, it's only a matter of waiting to see who goes first — and how.
Probably if you were inclined to stretch matters, you could assume that some kind of satiric comment is being made about the state of the forces we're dispatching in waves to fight in Iraq. If so, it turns out to be at best uninteresting and at worst as offensive as the rape scene that's been woven into the mix.
You'd like to think such bankruptcy of imagination means we've seen the last of these subterranean creeps. But you know they'll be back soon to collect their royalties from the gore hounds who apparently don't care how dull or warmed over the accompanying package.
"The Hills Have Eyes 2." MPAA rating: R for sequences of strong, gruesome, horror violence and gore, a rape and language. Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes. In general release.