The Last House on the Left (2009)

by on Apr.17, 2010, under Daily Review

This, in my opinion, is a strange film to remake. It’s a difficult task, not only to live up to the original, but also to deal with the complex balance of making a revenge film, which in the essence, holds some truly vicious rape and torture scenes; to do this and aim at a mainstream cinema audience. Tricky or impossible?

Lets start with the basics. Two teenage girls end up in a motel room with four crazy criminals. Wrong place at the wrong time. Things turn bad. Real bad. After some nastiness in the woods, a storm forces the criminals to find shelter in a nearby holiay lodge, unknown to them, the residents are non-other than the parents of one of the girls they’ve just abused. Its not long before all becomes clear and revenge is on the cards for the parents.

Director Dennis Iliadis took the basics and dissected every scene, reassembling with a fine recreation of the original from ’72. Events and characters are fleshed out to create a rounded bigger picture with background and history for all involved. Its shot in a nice exciting glossy way with some glorious depth of field used, especially during scenes in the motel room and forest. The actors are all pretty good too with no real stars here, Spencer Treat Clark (as Justin, Krug’s son) and Martha MacIsaac (Paige) standing out in lesser roles really. Although, the plot has changed subtly here, Iliadis has created quite a good film here, but as I mentioned earlier, the entertainment value in revenge films is difficult when faced with rape and torture and semi realistic characters in a semi realist environment.

The criminal characters here though are quite flat and stereotype, which is a major flaw in the film. Justin is the only one with any real essence and it’s this, which really differentiates from the original. Even comparing them to the bad guys from the likes of ‘Devil’s Rejects’ or ‘Dusk ‘til Dawn’ films which show how villains can be hideous yet have real character, here, this is lacking.

A final point. No chainsaw?! Disappointing, but the use of a fire extinguisher was fun and a microwave oven of all things added some freshness to the story.


2 Comments for this entry

  • Micah

    I was torn on this one too. I wanted to like it but I think it was tamed down a bit too much, the problem is, can modern audiences appreciate brutal rape/revenge flicks? And by changing the plot did the parents ultimately become worse than their attackers?

  • lucas1138

    Although Dennis Iliadis did a great job here, i’d have liked to have seen Gaspar Noe taking the film to the limits. Maybe he should remake House on the Edge of the Park.

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