Starring: Tony Goldwyn, Monice Potter, Garret Dillahunt, Sara Paxton
Director: Dennis Lliadis
Writer(s): Adam Alleca, Carl Ellsworth
Cinematography: Sharone Meir
Original Score: John Murphy
Running Time: 110 Mins.
Are you a horror film from the 70’/80’s? If the answer is “yes” then be prepared to be remade! As any horror afficianado knows The Last House On The Left (1972) was one of the infamous video nasties, banned for many years due to its “obscene violence and rape scenes” it was one of Wes Craven’s first forays into horror, and was very rough round the edges, something whch lent it an authernticity, making it a further-more disturbing watch, effectively what a good horror film should be.
Fast forward 37 years and the BBFC is much more forgiving, in fact it would seem that pretty much anything goes nowadays, audiences are so desensitised that the most gruesome torture scenes fail to shock most. By nature this has meant horror itself has suffered, the shock factor is nigh on non-existant yet despite (or because of?) this, the film makers push for more blood, more guts and fail to realise that most of the time less is well and truly more.
This means that The Last House On The Left (2009) is a strange beast, it wants to have the impact that its original had, yet it inevitably loses that films authenticity through the sheer polish, slickness of its direction and the budget, that it has over the 72 counterpart, though to its credit it still manages to retain its nastiness, there really is no getting over rape as a taboo subject and it seems so throw-away here, to the perpertrator’s (Krug and his gang), that you feel even more reviled.
Following the same plot of a gang kidnapping and raping/killing two girls and the subsequent revenge by one of the victims parent’s, means there is plenty here for torture porn fans to “enjoy”. Thankfully though director Lliadis, overseen by Craven himself as producer, has seen fit to ensure the gore doesn’t become too explicit, using it only to punctuate scenes rather than linger on…to begin with.
As the revenge kicks in the violence ante is upped. Buton thsi occasion it works in the context that you can see the pain that the parents (Goldwyn and Potter) want to inflict on Krug (Dillahunt) and his gang, though the closing scenes involving a microwave and take it all a step too far leaving you feeling a little less disturbed and more oddly surprised than you should, it has to be said but shave those final two minutes off and the effect would have been so much better.
Regardless of this awful denouement there is much to be taken and Dillahunt and Goldwyn are great in their mirroring roles of men intent on violence, for two very different reasons. The main question The Last House On The Left (both 09 and 72 versions) poses is Does violence beget violence? Is it right to exert the power of an eye for an eye? it might not seem as blatantly asked here but in the current climate it is certainly as topical if not more so than it ever was, the problem is revenge thrillers are ten a penny now and in a production this polished apparently aimed at the horror loving teens, will anyone care? A scary question in itself!
The Last House On The Left (2009) is a slick remake that thankfully doesn’t miss the point of its 1972 original, meaning there is a solid horror film here but nothing particularly revolutionary which becomes tarnished a touch by a OTT ending.