Last House on the Left (2009) – Reviewed

"Hi, we're selling steak knives door-to-door to send our boy to band camp."

"'re selling steak knives door-to-door to help send our boy here to band camp."

With a screenplay that’s fairly faithful to its 70s-sleazoid namesake, this Last House on the Left does a respectable job of delivering shocks and scares that do its name proud with snazzy production values and more-than-capable perfs to boot. The story is the same: two teen girls follow a cute but mumbly teen to a potential pot deal back at his motel room where they’re cornered by the boy’s escape con uncle, his dad and his dad’s girlfriend, who can’t let the girls go because their previous exploits have landed them on the front page. When the girls try to escape they cause the getaway vehicle to crash, upsetting their captors in major way. After trying to escape on foot the girls are beaten, abducted and raped — but young Mari, left for dead, manages to swim away with a gunshot wound. What the vile villains don’t know is they’ve found their way to the remote location of Mari’s family’s summer cottage. A severe storm blows in forcing them to seek refuge in Mari’s home where Mom and Dad (Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter) wait anxiously for their daughter to return. It doesn’t take long for the pieces to fall into place and when Mari’s parents realize they’ve invited their daughter’s attackers into their guest house, their thoughts swiftly turn to revenge. LHotL is impressive for what it is: a remake of a low-budget 70s thriller. It’s got a soft blue aesthetic and contains some impressively artistic brushstrokes. As mentioned, every performance is up to the challenge of breathing true life into what’s essentially an exploitation revenge shocker.  Garret Dillahunt as lead villain, Krug, is one of the most dispicable assholes ever committed to celuloid and Goldwyn (who you may remember as Patrick Swayze’s fiendish friend in Ghost) conveys a very realistic protective paternal rage that makes Krug’s just dessert that much more delicious. LHotL is deadly serious and smirk-free. It features a few four-star moments including two nerve-jangling car wrecks, Potter and Goldwyn’s merciless kitchen attack of one of Krug’s thugs and a beautifully nasty act of revenge that, sadly, most previews gave away. It’s the rare remake that improves on its source material, but respect for the material (whether warranted or not) and fine-tuned performances make this LHotL the stronger of the two. Wes Craven and his son helped produce.
See the trailer:

~ by Number5ive on March 17, 2009.

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