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The Last House on the Left

A 2009 movie directed by Dennis Iliadis.

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Exceeds both expectations and the original

  • Jul 19, 2011
  • by
Rating:
+2
Two of Wes Craven's early features have been bettered by their remakes. Alexandre Aja's 2006 retread of The Hills Have Eyes was clever, visually spectacular and far superior to the noisy, stupid original. Similarly, this second take on Craven's vicious 1972 directorial debut draws from all of its strengths while jettisoning its many overwrought flaws. Although the plot is similar - two girls are abducted by hardened criminals, brutalized and left for dead; parents exact revenge - it's tighter here, its devices both more credible and effective, and the story defies predictability more often than that of most second-rate fare.

Apparently, Tony Goldwyn learned how to act at some point in the past twenty years; no longer as hammy as a New Year's roast, the eyebrow-deprived actor/director is reasonably credible as both a surgeon and a father. Garret Dillahunt fares better as a repugnant arch-felon, but the standout performance is that of Sara Paxton, one of the two battered teenage unfortunates. Pristine and then defiled, Paxton couldn't be a more convincing victim - she exudes soft vulnerability, yet seems no less likely a desperate survivor. Exploitive though it inevitably is, a single revolting rape scene plays out as far from titillation as possible, and its potency is derived entirely from two deeply involved performances. The supporting cast is unexceptional, though adequate: Monica Potter is fair as the typically anxious maternal figure, and Aaron Paul and Riki Lindhome are suitably sleazy in the roles of Dillahunt's cohorts.

At least as notable as its cast is this film's incongruously gorgeous photography. DP Sharone Meir has outdone himself - featuring rich hues and crisp contrast, this picture is frequently too pretty for its genre!

On the whole, this is a wide notch above average: the dialogue is appropriately terse, most of the many suspenseful sequences are engrossing (albeit cliché), and the very bloody revenge inflicted on the antagonists is satisfying enough. Unfortunately, the modest respectability of the whole production is very nearly undone by a silly, gratuitous ending. It won't endure repeat viewings very well, but as something to watch at 4 A.M. on a Sunday morning, it's more than sufficient.

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More The Last House on the Left reviews
review by . October 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
FOR A REMAKE THIS ONE IS ACTUALLY GOOD
      THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT      I remember watching the original film and thinking this is a pretty good movie, in fact Wes Craven's 70's classic is still a good film to this day. So when I heard that once again not only was Hollywood remaking an old classic but it would be another Wes film I was a little upset. Of course the remake of his other classic "The Hills Have Eyes" was actually good so I finally found myself giving this a …
review by . August 20, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Dvd Cover
   Perhaps I should have re-watched the original “The Last House on the Left” before I saw this re-imagining of the violently, brutal horror classic, but I think I can remember enough to write a balanced review. The original had that unrelenting graphically violent nature that is rooted around the premise of the lost of innocence, that left its mark 37 or so years ago. Wes Craven was still trying to find his style during the time, and now, he has been trying to revamp his …
review by . January 24, 2010
What would you do if someone hurt the one you loved?
If someone hurt the one you loved  how far would you go to make them pay? Would you go outside the law and take matters into your own hands? Would you  try and at least do the right thing and wait for the proper authorities to  come and   catch them? Well  the honest truth is that this film explores the latter. It explores  how one father and mother take justice into there own hands and get revenge on the people that hurt there young daughter. Now here's the real …
review by . January 02, 2010
If you like this sort of thing and know what you're getting into
   I’ve seen the remake of Wes Craven's original and it was pretty good plus disturbing. Having seen my fair share of disturbing films like “Cannibal Holocaust.” After watching this up to date version it seems a bit unbalanced and tame along with the unrated version. I say unbalanced because it seems to want to be two different films, in terms of genre and style. The last act and the only parts worth watching, seem to fall under the 'torture porn' genre, for example “Hostel,” …
Quick Tip by . October 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Caption
   This remake is actually good and while not as memorable as the original still manages to pull off some good moments.
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
Very disturbing movie all the way around. That being said, I found the plot and actions of the characters fairly unbelievable.
Quick Tip by . June 14, 2010
It might be a little softer around the edges than its predecessor, but this remake still manages to deliver the goods, even if it does take the safer approach to the moral ambiguities of the original classic.
review by . October 13, 2009
The Last on the Left remake was okay in my opinion.  I didn't care for the bad guys because in the original you got to know them better but in the remake they're pretty much your run-on-the-mill garden variety villains.They didn't have any real personalities and they just seem to be "there" so they can chase the two girls and deal some dirty deeds upon them.  The movie does stick somewhat to the original script but there is something missing from this film that really stood out …
About the reviewer
Robert Buchanan ()
Ranked #29
I'm a bibliophile, ailurophile, inveterate aggregator, dedicated middlebrow and anastrophizing syntax addict. My personality type is that of superlative INTJ.
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Movies, Action Movies, Film, Horror, Dennis Iliadis

Details

Director: Dennis Iliadis
Genre: Action, Crime, Horror, Thriller
Release Date: March 13, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Carl Ellsworth, Adam Alleca
Runtime: 110 minutes
Studio: Rogue Pictures, Scion Films, Film Afrika Worldwide, Midnight Entertainment
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