Another addition to Hollywood’s gory horror-cum-thriller genre, ‘The Last House On The Left’ is a remake of Wes Craven’s 1972 thriller of the same name. Released in 2009 and directed by Dennis Iliadis, the film has Tony Goldwyn, Monica Potter, Garret Dillahunt and Sara Paxton in leading roles.
The plot follows a gang of four – Krug (Dillahunt), a prison escapee, his brother Francis (Aaron Paul), girlfriend Sadie (Riki Lindhome) and son Justin (Spencer Clark), who are on the run after Francis and Sadie help free Krug while he is being transported to a prison and kill the two detectives accompanying him. The gang kidnaps teenagers Mari (Paxton) and Paige (Martha MacIsaac) after they find the girls in their motel room with Justin. After brutally assaulting both the girls, Paige is murdered, while Mari is raped and left to die for dead. The gang, then, seeks refuge for the night at a nearby house. Coincidentally, this house belongs to one of the victim’s parents (Goldwyn and Potter), who soon realize who their house guests really are. What ensues is a series of shocking revenge tactics which the distressed couple adopts in order to avenge the assault on their daughter. Will the family’s strength and courage be enough to match up to their vicious house guests?
For starters, since I have not seen the 1972 version of the movie, I will not be able to draw a comparison between the original and the remake. However, as far as the remake is concerned, it is just like any other torture flick. The story moves at a slightly slow pace and fails to hold the viewer’s attention consistently. There are parts of the movie where one may feel a complete disconnect from what is happening. There is nothing all that appalling about the torture and murder scenes, which is probably because by now, we are too used to watching blood and gore, thanks to the large number of horror/torture flicks that Hollywood is producing these days.
The only novelty that this movie serves is that the perpetrators of torture are not just the villains, but also the victims. In fact, the revenge methods adopted by the victimized family are much more shocking than those of the criminals. If you are a fan of bloody, gory films, watch out for the last scene.
The movie also has some noteworthy performances. Dillahunt does a fabulous job as Krug – the nasty, cold-blooded gang-leader. Goldwyn and Potter are equally convincing as panic-stricken but determined parents, who would go to any lengths to protect their daughter. Sara Paxton also gives a promising performance, finally making a transition from chick-flicks to some serious cinema. Even Riki Lindhome has done a great job as the promiscuous, evil Sadie.
Another plus point of the movie is that it has been beautifully filmed. The picturesque settings and the impeccable lighting and camera work give the movie an artistic appeal. Director Dennis Iliadis definitely seems to have a taste for aesthetics and has showcased his technical expertise brilliantly.
I would not say that the movie cannot be missed, but it can definitely make for a good one-time watch. Do not expect ‘The Last House on the Left’ to send chills down your spine. But watch it for its good performances and beautiful shots. And, of course, the gore.
[Image courtesy: http://speedthepilgrim.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/lasthouseontheleft2.jpg]