Director – Dennis Iliadis
Cast – Garret Dillahunt, Michael Bowen, Joshua Cox, Riki Lindhome, Sara Paxton, Monica Potter, Tony Goldwyn
Release Year – 2009
Reviewed by John of the Dead
As we all figured out several years ago, Hollywood is simply out of ideas when it comes to horror movies. Each year we are given MULTIPLE horror remakes/re-imaging of many classic horror movies that already have a good name for themselves, therefore giving the remake lots of buzz and publicity it may or may not deserve. When will the remakes stop? Probably never now that Hollywood has realized that the general public will still pay $8 to $10 a pop to see these movies in theaters. Maybe we can get Congress to ban remakes? It’s worth a shot. Hehe. I am in no way saying that all remakes suck, some are amazing, but it seems the movie industry is now using remakes as backup plans for when they don’t have any semi-original ideas for horror movies these days. It’s a sad state of affairs.
This film follows pretty much the exact same plot as the original Last House on the Left, with a white, upper-class family from the city going on vacation to a lake house they own out in the country. The daughter, Mari, gets permission to go into town to hang out with a friend she sees whenever they vacation there. After looking to score some weed, they wind up mixed up with a group of outlaws that are on the run from the police. Knowing that the girls are going to squeal on them the first chance they get, they decide to do some horrible and sadistic things to them, and then finish them off to make sure they cover their tracks. As a really bad thunderstorm comes into town, the outlaws walk to the nearest house and ask for shelter, claiming they were in an accident(to explain the blood and cuts on them after killing the girls). The husband and wife, being polite, cater to them, help set someone’s broken nose(the husband is a doctor), and make sure they have a warm bed to sleep in that night in their guesthouse. How hospitable eh?
We then soon find out that Mari is actually not dead, but barely alive and clinging onto life. She manages to make it to the lake house where she is taken care of by her father and mother. Her parents then soon find a big clue that links her to the people they just let into their guesthouse. With the site of their daughter clinging to life, as well as seeing signs of rape trauma, the husband and wife then decide to get the ultimate revenge on the people who did this to their daughter, and drank their wine. Haha.
First and foremost, this film is one of the few horror remakes to be nearly just as good as the original. Excellent job on the part of director Dennis Iliadis(who really hasn’t done much before this movie) and the suspense he created in this film. He managed to do what the first film did, which was shock us, then give us the ultimate feeling of redemption with the film’s awesome climax. This film does not nearly have the gore and craziness that the first film had, but used more atmosphere and cinematography to scare the viewer, which I have mad respect for. It’s easy to throw in a lot of gore in a movie and scare someone. I personally find it a lot more credible to be made scared simply by good story and good atmosphere.
Because I have seen the original, I am sure I will feel a little bit differently about the climax and overall end product of the film because I have the original to compare it to. On it’s own…this remake is great. Top notch thrills and good direction get this film it’s recognition. However, when compared with the 1972 Wes Craven version, I find the remake to still be a bit inferior. Although the original had some plot issues, and of course acting issues as well(it was the 70’s…c’mon!), I believe that the original still accomplishes the main objective of the film, which the remake did not do so well on in comparison to the 1972 version. This film, hands down, is about revenge, and the loss of humanity that comes with it when you let it get the best of you. In the original we witness a white, upper-class couple BRUTALLY destroy the outlaws that BRUTALLY hurt their daughter. In the original, the rape scenes were MUCH more intense. We witness the girls forced to pee in their underwear, forced to get naked and finger each other, and THEN…after all that…we see them get raped and then killed(although the couple‘s daughter is really just very near death). In return, we see the parents plan the revenge, showing premeditation, which is worse than just doing something out of impulse, and see them execute the plan in extremely violent fashion. We are shown dismemberment, throat slitting, as well as the use of a chainsaw with a very bloody outcome. Although the 2009 remake did supply it’s own toned-down version of these events, they pale in comparison to the shock you feel at the end of the original film. I applaud the 2009 remake for not relying on brutality to give us a really good, suspenseful film. BUT, I cannot ignore the fact that they missed the overall message of this film, which the original hit DEAD ON.
Overall, this film is a good watch. I recommend everyone watch this great remake of an epic film.