This big-budget remake of Wes Craven's quite craven 1977 quickie follows the original's flowchart closely and ramps up the savagery several notches. French phlebotomist Alexandre Aja -- who earned his power-tool pay grade with High Tension -- displays little fluency with the "normal" victims, but even less with the evil, bloodthirsty cannibal family they meet. So, the innocent are tortured and fondled and killed, but no amount of sheer sadism and axe polls slammed into skulls can surmount the grueling abuse of aimless overacting, whether by Robert Joy's Orc-toothed maniac or by "normal" teen Emilie de Ravin, whose reaction to having her family butchered like farm hens is to whine and stamp her feet. The full-frontal references to the history of New Mexico bomb testing and radioactive poisoning are ripe but wasted. In fact, the only thing creepier than the score, which blasts in rhythmic waves like a meltdown alarm, is the credits' glimpses of actual fallout mutations.
Director: Alexandre Aja
Writer: Alexandre Aja and Wes Craven
Producer: Wes Craven, Peter Locke and Marianne Maddalena
Cast: Aaron Stanford, Ted Levine, Dan Byrd, Emilie De Ravin and Kathleen Quinlan