The Hills Have Eyes, 1977, was much as you'd expect of the horror/thriller genre, and you felt you got your scare's worth for your $4 (hey, it was 1977 after all). The Hill have Eyes, 2006, was... well, a remake. The Hills Have Eyes II is a sequel to a remake.
As the films have "evolved," so have the taglines, from 'The lucky ones die first' (1977 and 2006) to 'The lucky ones die fast.' Reassuring. At 89 minutes total, I didn't feel I was either first, fast, nor lucky.
Had the script not used liberal profanity, particularly early on when it seemed a bit over the top, I suspect the film would have been a good 5-10 minutes shorter. I can understand the shocked utterance of naughty phrases, but just for the sake of not having to write dialogue was just lazy.
But the premise. A lackluster group of National Guardsmen can't complete a simple training exercise without all being "killed." After a good chewing out, they head back to base, but stop off a at a research camp within the Army base (and conveniently where they did atomic testing in the 1950s, but through an oversight of radioactive half-life, the site seems safe). The scientists are all missing, so the troops find their inner courage and under the short-lived leadership of their training sergeant, wander into the hills.
That basic storyline is the only variance from the previous version of this film. Still shot in Ouarzazate, Morocco, so the scenery should be familiar to fans of this decade's "Hills" films. The kills aren't terribly new, original or creative, so after the first (accidental) killing, it's all downhill form there.
If you were totally digging on this version, and how the ending leaves a pretty wide open invitation out there, I won't be surprised if we see a "Hills III" 18 months down the road. (After all, the first Hills had a sequel and then a semi-sequel, so why stray from the precedent?)