If bad people hurt someone you love, how far would you go to hurt them back?
Spencer Treat Clark
Running Time: 110 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18
Country: United States
Wes Cravens original take on The Last House on the Left is pretty much a universal love it or hate it thingfrom what I hear, its the only film in Leonard Maltins movie guide to receive no stars, and for the people who hate it, its reviled. The thing it had, though, was its shock value, and while debaters can debate ad nauseum about why audiences crave gore and sadism, it is what it is, and for what it was, the 1972 version was WAY out there. This remake is a much better film; if youre going in blind, I could see how it would be suspenseful, its shot well, the effects are good, the acting is pretty high quality and yet, its all rather bland.
The trouble all starts when Mari Collingwood (Sara Paxton) and her friend Paige (Martha MacIsaac) set off on a quest to liven up their small town night by buying weed from a dude named Justin (Spencer Treat Clark) that they meet at a convenience store. Things go from a fun little pot-smoking romp in his motel room to a bunch of torture, rape, and murder when his escaped felon dad Krug (Garret Dillahunt), Krugs woman Sadie (Riki Lindhome), and Uncle Francis (Aaron Paul) come back and find out their incognito hideout has been compromised. As luck would have it, though, the four fugitives have to seek shelter in the middle of a storm in the vacation home of Maris parents (Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter), and once they figure out what their visitors have been up to, its a vengeance free for all.
I wont use my space here to rant about the why oh why of why doesnt anyone make original horror films anymorejust know it underlies everything Im about to say. And the weird thing is, this is a remake thats actually well made, offers some new twists, and, if you dont know the premise going in, I think it could be suspenseful. Pretty much, though, if youre going to see it, youve either seen the Craven original or you know all about it, so that element is lost. Performances are strong, and the casting is good all around, except for Lindhome, who couldve been a much creepier Sadie but comes off less deranged, more along for the ride. Where the film misses the mark cant really even be blamed on the movie itselfits just that it feels so dare I say safe? The original may have been horrible, but it pushed the envelope, and while I dont need outlandish gore to enjoy a horror film, I need it to not feel sanitized, and while there are definitely some brutal scenes in this one, theres an overall aura of blasé predictability that shouldnt surround one of the most shocking classics of modern horror cinema.
It's Got: A few new twists, Good casting, Some moments to cheer.
It Needs: More shocks, More scares.
Not a bad effort, but well made as it is, it suffers from the predictability that its predecessor didnt have to worry about.