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Last House on the Left (2009)

1 rating: 1.0
Horror and Mystery & Suspense movie directed by Dennis Iliadis

A hot-button topic in the horror community from the minute it was announced, the 2009 remake of Wes Craven and Sean Cunningham’s controversialLast House on the Leftwill undoubtedly leave audiences polarized in regard to both its treatment of the … see full wiki

Tags: Movie
Director: Dennis Iliadis
1 review about Last House on the Left (2009)

Uncomfortable And Boring All At Once

  • May 14, 2010
Rating:
+1
Wes Craven's classic shocker "The Last House On The Left" gets a bigger budget, a better cast, and a polished look in this 2009 remake of the same name. Unfortunately all of these elements do not help the film's overall dull feel.

Fresh-faced Sara Paxton ("Aquamarine," "Sydney White") portrays Mari Collingwood, a swimming champion and all-around good girl with a slight bad streak (which gets her into trouble) who takes a vacation with her parents, Emma (Monica Potter, "Con Air" and "Boston Legal") and John (Tony Goldwyn, "Ghost" and "Tarzan"). Once they arrive at the family lake house , Mari convinces her parents to spend a little time alone while she goes into town to hang out with her friend, Paige (Martha McIsaac, "SuperBad"). Mari's parents begin to enjoy their evening together while Mari and Paige decide to follow a stranger named Justin (Spencer Treat Clark, "Gladiator") to smoke marijuana.

Once the trio of new friends begin to have fun, Justin's father, Krug (Garrett Dillahunt, "Deadwood") shows up along with his girlfriend, Sadie (Riki Lindhome, "Pulse") and Francis (Aaron Paul, "Big Love" and "Breaking Bad"), Justin's uncle. Krug is freshly escaped from prison thanks to Sadie and Francis, and the group have made the headlines in the local newspaper. Mari lets Krug have her parents' vehicle hoping he'll let her and Paige go. Not willing to take a chance on the pair ratting them out, the criminals decide to kidnap them as they stay on the run from the police.

**POTENTIAL SPOILERS**

Mari then tries to trick Krug into driving them by her home and attempts to escape. This only angers the group (excepting Justin, who never really seems to want to go along with his father's criminal ways) and they commence to torturing and beating the girls in the forest just across the lake from Mari's family lake house. Despite begging for their lives, Paige is murdered and Mari is raped and left for dead in the lake.

The criminals then find themselves trapped in a storm and unwittingly head for the Collingwood's house in order to seek refuge and to get a little first aid due to their altercation with the girls. Soon enough, the parents are tipped off that they are harboring their daughter's murderers. This information drives Emma and John from being a mild-mannered, well-to-do couple into a sinister pair of vengeful parents.

The tide is then turned on the criminals and a series of somewhat brutal and bizarre beatings and killings begin.

**END SPOILERS**

The film's premise of making the criminals the victims (well deserved, in this case) shows you just how dangerous being the bad guy really can be. Krug, Francis, and Sadie argue with each other, show fear and doubt when faced with exposure, and even fall victim to their own egos at times. While this makes for an interesting study in human nature and how quickly it can deteriorate in both good and bad people, the film struggles to fully deliver its message. While I found myself cheering for the parents and hoping for the girls to escape, I never saw the film as more than just another Hollywood remake trying to outdo the original.

While the film is uncomfortable to watch, it isn't so uncomfortable that you'll want to look away or mute the audio. There is a bit of gore, especially splattering blood, but there have been plenty of other films out there that surpass this film's goriness (including the original). There's also no real sense of terror or suspense since everything is played out right before your eyes.

I will say that Paxton, Goldwyn, and Dillahunt do excellent jobs with their characters. I was especially pleased with Paxton's performance, having only seen her portray sugary sweet characters as in "Aquamarine" or stereotypical teen snobs in films like "Sleepover." Clark comes off a little too emotional at times and Potter looked as if she was uncomfortable in her role. Lindhome's somewhat psychotic portrayal of Sadie was good, but she remains a minor player in the film for the most part. While there's little humor in the film, Paul's tough-guy portrayal of Francis is a bit funny.

Overall, this film is mildy entertaining but doesn't compare to the brutality and rawness of the original. It just goes to show that a film's "slickness" doesn't always add up to a successful picture. Recommended as a one-time rental.

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