THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT
*1/2 (out of 5)
March 13, 2009
Garret Dillahunt as KRUG
Riki Lindhome as SADIE
Aaron Paul as FRANCIS
Sara Paxton as MARI COLLINGWOOD
Monica Potter as EMMA COLLINGWOOD
Tony Goldwyn as JOHN COLLINGWOOD
Martha MacIsaac as PAIGE
Spencer Treat Clark as JUSTIN
Studio: Rogue Pictures
Directed by: Dennis Iliadis
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
The one thing that kept going through my mind as I watched “The Last House on the Left” was how unnecessary the film it.
Oh, the fans of the original and this new remake will most likely insult my intelligence by suggesting that I just didn’t get the movie. Don’t worry. I got the movie. And I still didn’t like it.
I know that the original has been held up as a “video nasty” horror classic because of the movie’s “It could happen” potential. And yes, I will concede that the reality of a band of raping, murdering psychopaths is far more likely than any scenario involving werewolves, vampires or zombies. But the bottom line is that I don’t enjoy watching innocent people get brutalized on screen. And call me crazy, but I really detest rape scenes in films.
Yet, for as much as “The Last House on the Left” doesn’t pull its punches when Mari (Sara Paxton) is brutally raped by Krug (Garret Dillahunt), it chickens out on the very stuff that made the first film so appealing.
The story is a basic cautionary tale from the 1970s. Two young, pretty teenage girls go back to a stranger’s motel room to score some pot. While they’re there, the guy’s family comes home. And when I say “family,” I mean it in the Charles Manson way.
What follows is about forty minutes of brutality, culminating in the rape and attempted murder of one of the girls. Soon afterwards, the “family” finds the closest house, which belongs to Maria’s parents. The kind couple takes them in on the rainy night, but they soon learn what happened to their daughter. The last half hour or so of the film is the parents exacting revenge on the perpetrators.
Like I said, there’s a certain amount of enjoyment the audience can get watching the bad guys get what’s coming to them. But for my tastes, it’s just not worth sitting through the awfulness to get there. And even when it does get there, the filmmakers make some changes, which I assume are to avoid an NC-17 rating.
It’s a sad state of affairs when a rape scene can be depicted so visceral and graphic but the comeuppance has to be toned down for our delicate audiences.
I would imagine that the fans of the original film will probably like this new one. It’s grittier and edgier than the original, and the overwhelming feeling of camp has been completely stripped from the piece. Heck, if you like rape, you’ll love “The Last House on the Left.”
However, for the rest of America with normal sensibilities probably doesn’t have the stomach for this film. And that’s a good thing.