A family going to California accidentally goes through an Air Testing range closed to the public. They crash and are stranded in a desert. They are being stalked by a group of people, which have not emerged into modern times.
The base of the story of The Hills Have Eyes has become very standard as the years have flown by. A family drives through some deserted land, the car crashes and the family is stuck in the middle of nowhere and as it turns out some group of primitive cannibal killers had already nested themselves and are not willing to share the spot with some hysterical teenagers which mom and dad can't control.
The Hills Have Eyes does remind me a lot of Tobe Hoopers classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre but misses certain things that Hoopers brilliant horror classic did have. The typical 70's grainy horror atmosphere is great and fits in great with the bizarre sound effects/music and the sultry/deserted landscape. In the beginning The Hills Have Eyes manages to create some decent tension as scene's where you look though the killer's eyes who's watching the stranded family and is communicating with his fellow cannibals are in pretty tensive and atmospheric.
Unfortunately these kind of scene's are not so tensive and atmospheric when the cannibals are showed full-screen as they are just some feral dudes who run around in bear skin and act like they have down syndrome (no offence). Though I have to be honest, Michael Berryman (Yeah, the bald weirdo that you probably know from the other gazillion low-budget horror movies he's been in) and Lance Gordon (Yeah, the dude with the huge hairdo and his crooks mug who has never achieved more in his career other than movie like ''Attack of the 5 Ft. 2 Women) do look and act pretty creepy. On other hand though there are members like mother cannibal. A fat chick who also walks around in bear skin and has a headband with teeth (or were shells??) and kinda looks like Bertha, the laundress of Charlie and Alan in Two and a Half Men.
The kills are never showed full-screen and also don't have the impact that for example the kills in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (also without gore) did have.
Though what the movie does have is a lovely 70's horror atmosphere, great popcorn cheesyness and a killing Michael Berryman on the loose! Must watch!