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This Italian micro-budget horror production isn't that good, but
nonetheless it's not too bad for a first shot at a feature length
production, as writer / director Gabriele Albanesi has created three
horror shorts before it. With a title like that you'll know where it's
target audience lies, and for most part it delivers on it if you just
go in expecting something rather amateurishly crazy and explosively
bloody in what is an all to familiar get-up. You can see its style is
raw, lurid and recalls shades of 70s / 80s drive-in grindhouse
exploitation. It's a total throwback. Even with this element, still
it's hard to find it disturbing. It's far from it actually, as it's
over-the-top hysterics (especially involving three moronic douche bags)
and macabre confusion can see it fall on being darkly humorous.
A young couple, Aurora and Rino are trying to come to terms to where their relationship is at or what was, but they're interrupted by three loutish thugs that bash Rino and attempt to rape Aurora. However an older married couple driving pass saves them from that disastrous fate and takes them back to their place to recover. But unknowingly to them this couple has a secret which might put Aurora and Rino in a great deal of unexplainable trouble.
The narrative is thoughtlessly thin and dank, but cluttered with so many disjointed plot structures (some that feel like a second thought as if made on the spot) which go onto to lead to an inevitable (and perplexing) explanation to all of this demented carnage. I'm at a lost?! You can easily spot the influences from other horror films though. 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' shoots to mind. The unsubtle script was mostly horrendous.
After a plodding beginning-- setting up Aurora and Rino's rocky relationship and their early encounters with the brain-dead thugs. The whole mystery surrounding the hospitable couple and their son is what holds you, until it throws you into the ugly, explicit violence and bewildering situation. Nothing suspenseful about it, but it's flipped out with it gushing with plenty of red stuff and gore skews into camp territory, but that final closing is shockingly weak and rushed. What was going against it is that there was no one to really cheer on (yep Aurora and Rino were less than desirable characters) as they weren't painted oh so greatly.
Gabriele Albanesi's direction stays conventional with some neatly realized images and fast moving zooms, but it's considerably well shot. Even when it decides the shake the camera about a couple of times. The electronic score stays low-key with a sensitively harrowing vibe, striking back to those old features. The pacing moves quick enough and the limited resources are handled effectively (like the make-up and splatter effects).The performances are very indifferent and quite poor (thanks again to those three ridiculous thugs). Daniela Virgilio and Daniele Grassetti didn't make much of an imprint as Aurora and Rino. Gennaro Diana and Santa De Santis's stiltedly icy portrayals bordered on farcical as the mysterious couple. David Pietroni was just laudably hammy as the main front man of the trio.
Unusually ragged, but slightly amusing and outrageous Italian horror.
Usually, I depend heavily on the 'external reviews' here on IMDb; no
disrespect for the other reviewers here like me of course, but I have
my favourites who I rely on for my impressions of a film and whether I
think I will like it.
Well, as my title suggests, I VERY much disagree with some of my 'regulars', that is for sure! Both at DVD Verdict and Dread Central they praise this film as a great return to Italian Horror. I suppose... However, perhaps it's just a matter of 'taste' in this case (no pun intended - I guess you'll hafta actually see the film to get it) Sure, there is a LOT of old fashioned gore, etc. And that can be okay IF, and I do bloody well mean ***IF*** at least it is done well. But, sadly, in this case I am sorry, but it was not. Now maybe the level of competence is expected to be lower with this kind of movie, but still, there are TONS of great low-budget Horror films that may even be somewhat stupid, BUT there is a certain charm or retro feel to them or SOMETHING for Goodness sake that makes them worthwhile. Not this one...
Primarily I just couldn't bleed'n STAND the monotonous and EXTREMELY super-extended padding in this thing. GEEZ, so he / she / whatever is running through the woods... Okay... I get it... Can we PLEASE not spend 20 frigg'n minutes watching them running and screaming, and running and screaming, and then running and screaming some more...???! PLEASE...! Literally about 20% of the dang film is made up of all these SUPER-extended reaction shots (hold on her face... Okay, now hold on his face. Okay, now go back to her face... GEEZ, just shoot me already, or hang me, I REALLY do not care at this point!) I GUESS, MAYBE, if it had just been tightened up a bit and moved along with SOME concept of pacing it probably would indeed have been a fun and enjoyable little Horror film. Man, as it was it came in at what, about 85 minutes WITH credits. I mean EVERY dang scene was dragged out, mostly with awful repetitive yelling and 'acting' I mean HOW MANY bloody times does one tough guy hafta tell his other friend to 'Shut up!' And also how many, MANY times does that same friend say 'Hey, we really should go back; we shouldn't do this, etc., etc., etc... It's just that when you add all this stuff up it ends up being HALF the damn film, really! Just a LOT, and I do mean a HELL of a lot of time wasted, totally destroying whatever possible suspense or interest that may have been generated .
I WILL say though that there were a few things about this movie that I did like. First, I REALLY liked the opening song; I mean it sounded RIGHT out of TWIN PEAKS, honestly! So, I'm thinking 'Great! This is gonna be some subtle, moody, atmospheric film a la David Lynch. WRONG... BUT, I will say though that towards the very beginning there were indeed a few shots / scenes that did remind me of Lynch's use of long, quiet shots that gave it a nice, odd feel. And also, I really noticed a very deliberate effort to copy Argento's lighting in 'INFERNO' You see blues and reds EVERYWHERE! That looked kinda neat. But, all in all whatever slight patches of style or mood that MIGHT have been there, they were TOTALLY obliterated by completely inept narrative and pacing and WAAAAAAAAAY drawn out scenes. If he could have just edited all that completely useless crap out of there and maybe brought the film in at even 70 minutes, that might have done the trick.
Now again, if this kind of film falls into the category sort of like Porn where you really aren't exactly watching it for the 'tight' direction (cough...) etc., well then, fine... Maybe this just isn't my kind of movie. But, at least as I imagine it being directed, I THINK that you really could have snipped out all the stupid stuff and just gotten to all the gore, etc., THEN you just might have had a much, MUCH more effective and emotionally striking film. Instead ALL the tension that is actually built up is completely wasted and drained away by about 20% of the footage that just shouldn't be there.
YES, there is a definite and even somewhat effective homage to Argento and Classic Italian Horror in general; but, if you are gonna do that type of thing, PLEASE do not completely ruin it by making an awful film around it...
If you look at the international title of this low-budgeted Italian flick, you automatically expect this to be throwback to the gritty and disturbing rape/revenge exploitation thrillers of the 70's, and particularly of course Wes Craven's "Last House on the Left". If you then watch the film, you'll have to conclude it's much more reminiscent to that other Wes Craven milestone of the 70's; namely "The Hills Have Eyes". But what truly surprised me here actually was that "Last House in the Woods" is one of the goriest, most sickening and distasteful recent horror films I've seen in months! During the first half hour or so, writer/director Gabriele Albanesi apparently still tried to serve some personal style and ambitious structure, but then the whole thing just turns into a non-stop nasty and absurdly over-the-top shlockfest. In the middle of a relationship crisis, young couple Aurora and Rino are assaulted by a trio of drug-addicted thugs on a remote forest road. They're about to gang-rape Aurora when a middle-aged couple drives by and comes to the rescue. At the couple's house, hidden deep in the woods, Aurora soon realizes she's in even deeper trouble as her hosts have the nasty habit of kidnapping people and serve the flesh to their cannibalistic 7-year-old son. If this isn't quite unhinged enough for you yet, there's another duo of freaks loose in the woods one has a disgusting tumor in his neck and the other a half rotten face and an outrageously insane climax involving a child that got lost in the woods during the intro of the film. "Last House in the Woods" is badly acted, incoherent and senseless and honestly doesn't feature any aspects that qualify as original or surprising. Still, this is guaranteed fun to watch if only for the gore and unusually high level of depravity. Moreover, in spite of the obviously very restricted budget, the makers nevertheless managed to engage Italy's most prominent and gifted special-effects guy for their film! Sergio Stivaletti is literally a wizard with blood & gore effects. He worked with Italy's greatest horror directors of the 80's and 90's (Dario Argento, Mario Bava and Michele Soavi) and already even directed two excellent but shamefully underrated himself ("The Wax Mask" and "Three Faces of Terror"). Thanks to Stivaletti, "Last House in the Woods" is a real treat for sick puppies like myself, with an overload of slit throats, bitten throats, disembowelment, amputations, chainsaw murders, close range head shots, stabbings Shall I continue, or will you purchase the DVD already?
Prologue: the world's densest family are driving home when they blow a
tyre and crash (no seat-belts; no airbags; very dumb); the father is
dead, so the mother gets her injured son out of the car and tells him
to run down the road with her (he could be suffering from spinal damage
for all she knows; what an idiot!); when she spies a car approaching,
the mother stands in the road and waves her arms, but fails to get out
of the way when it passes (Splat! How thick?); the driver of the car
pulls over, walks to the barely-still-alive mother, and bashes her head
in with a rock (the son, who is cowering in the woods, shouts out; he's
easily as stupid as his parents).
After this unparallelled exercise in stupidity, we are introduced to a pair of lovers, Aurora (busty Daniela Virgilio) and Rino (Daniele Grassetti), who attempt to solve issues in their relationship by having car sex in the middle of nowhere. As they redress themselves, post intercourse, a trio of pill-popping thugs turn up, kick Rino to the ground and try to force Aurora to perform fellatio. Fortunately for her, the assault is interrupted when a couple in a passing car stop, and the driver, Antonio (Gennaro Diana) proceeds to send the thugs packing (with the help of his gun, of course).
Grateful for his assistance, the shocked couple accompany Antonio to his house, but it turns out to be a case of 'out of the frying pan, and into the fire': Antonio and his wife Clara (Santa De Santis) are the proud parents of a group of deformed cannibals, and Aurora and Rino are destined to become dinner.
It is clear from the derivative title alone that Last House In The Woods is intended to recreate the nasty, gritty vibe of 70s and 80s grind house horror, most notably the early work of Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, and Italy's own Ruggero Deodato; unfortunately, director Gabriele Albanesi tends to stick a little too closely to his source material, and for much of the film, he offers very little new in terms of ideas. Inbred cannibals; vicious rapist thugs; chainsaw mayhem: it's all so familiar. Hell, even Gennaro Diana looks kinda like David Hess's younger brother.
However, as Italian horror films seem to be in the habit of doing, the script eventually decides to launch logic out of the window and matters get very crazy, very gory, very quickly, transforming Last House In The Woods from a predictable Hills Have Eyes/Texas Chainsaw clone into a totally bonkers and magnificently vicious gore-fest. In fact, I had so much fun with the typically Italian insanity in the closing moments that I found I could easily forgive the movie's earlier weaknesses.
Yucky treats that await those who are patient include limb amputation via chainsaw, bullets to the head, vicious stabbings, and a messy disembowelment (all courtesy of MUFX man Sergio Stivaletti); furthermore, Virgilio gets absolutely drenched in blood, a mutant cannibal has his huge boil burst during a fight (which results in a geyser of pus hitting a guy in the face), and there's even a quadriplegic kid for good measure. It's mad, it's messy, and it's fun, and that's good enough for me! 6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for IMDb.
Nice artwork on the DVD box and that's about it. On the cover it says,
"from the people who brought you the Grudge" etc etc, lot's of hype.
From Ghost House pictures, a company that usually will deliver the
scares, but not in this case.
First 10 minutes of the film is shot too dark. Then there are numerous gaffes with the day for night type scenes. One scene it is dark, the next it's daylight. On par with an Ed Wood film. Horrible editing, shots of 3 guys driving in a little Fiat seen over and over with the driver never turning the wheel.
Lingering close ups, fast zooms--both in and out, shaky hand held camera to the point of it looking like the cinematographer was having a seizure.
Goofy, over the top acting, more suitable for an Italian soap opera. "Hey Enzo, we needa more blood, no?"
I bought this movie used for 10 bucks and I might as well of just flushed it down the toilet. Here's some advice for Ghost House pictures: Please don't become another Full Moon. There are already enough low budget stinkers being put out by those guys. Have some credibility and actually watch the movie before you market it --and in the case of Last House in the Woods, your marketing was deceptive and I fell for it. You got me, but now I will research a Ghost House movie before I buy or rent one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A couple with child are driving on a road in the woods. The man loses
control of the car, crashes into a tree and dies. As the mother tries
to stop a car for help, she's run over. The driver stops, grabs a rock
and smashers her to death. When he hears the hiding kid he goes after
Later we meet a young but estranged couple as they drive to the woods. They stop for romance and are assaulted by some drugged gang members. He's beaten up, she stops a car for help. The man who helps her has a gun and makes the gangster run for their life. Also in the car is the man's wife. The young couple is taken to their estate in the woods. But something isn't right here. When she awakens, she's tied to a chair. Next to her is her ex also tied up but passed out. His lower leg is missing. In front of her, the dining table and a child munching on his leg! Eventually she escapes and ends up in an RV that belongs to some deformed retards. They take her captive and bring her back to the home in the woods. Our gangsters from earlier hear the noise and make it to house as well. Turns out the 2 retards and the kid who has shark-like teeth are all children of the couple that lives there. The kid has some need to devour flesh and the parents find the human meat when necessary. At this point all sorts of struggles take place between the crazy family and the gangsters who now have become good guys.
The final scene is quite powerful, when we see a sort of shrine in the basement. At the center is the kid from the accident at the beginning of the movie. He is alive but his limbs have been removed. He and the monstrous kid meet presumably for the first time.
This movie has an interesting premise but the production cannot make the best of it. Too many characters, none of which are particularly interesting or arouse sympathy. There's some gore here and there. Quite a bit of this movie is rather dull.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A couple gets attacked by three psychopaths only to be saved by an older couple who are actually the caretakers of a fang toothed cannibal child and two mentally unstable deformed nuts who later get attacked by the same three psychopaths in this cross between Last House On The Left and The Hills Have Eyes, please add the color and lighting effects of Suspiria. The most shocking thing about Last House In The Woods is that it was made in 2006; I actually thought I was watching some legitimate schlock from the 70s that I had somehow overlooked. No spoilers that I could possible reveal here can brace you for how utterly disgusting and horrible this movie is. Vile men raping, vomit splashing, amputations a la chainsaw, puss spurting, intestines spilling out, bad dubbing, you name it. This film has it all. If you are a horror fan you do not want to miss this one. It is the real deal, so bad, so bloody awful, that it is actually good.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If the wardrobes and home decor weren't so modern, I would have sworn
this grimy little movie was an authentic 70s Italian gore film. Really,
it had almost everything, as I shall try to illustrate. First, we're
treated to a mom, dad and little boy driving home down a long deserted
road in the middle of nowhere. After running over a well-placed booby
trap, the car crashes, dad dies, and mom and kid escape to get help.
Help doesn't REALLY come though, and the little boy takes off running
through the woods. Flash forward to recently broken-up young lovers
Aurora and Reno, who decide to "talk" about their problems on the same
lonely road. They're beset by three obnoxious young men who want to
rape the girl and beat the boy. But help comes in the nick of time from
a fashionably dressed couple. Unfortunately, it's not REALLY help and
our young lovers soon find themselves in the terror-filled "Last House
in the Woods." We've got a creepy, androgynous kid with an annoying
voice (Fulci, Burial ground). We've got well-dressed moms with issues
(tons). We've got family secrets (tons of gialli). We've got crazy
lighting (Argento). We've got a bizarre synthesizer score (tons). We've
got gore, vomit, and pus (the good ones). We've got a David
Hess-looking main bad guy (House on the Edge of the Park). We've got
one crazy dude with a chainsaw (Hooper, not Italian but still). We've
even got a guy who acts like a zombie, since there wasn't a logical way
to throw in a real zombie. Oh, and the threat of some good ol' Papa
Fulci eyeball violence. It's like an Italian "Scream," bringing back
the conventions the writer-director grew up with. Plus, like all good
Italian gore films, it doesn't make a lot of sense.
Is this a good movie? No. But "Last House in the Woods" is an entertaining little time warp, made enjoyable by some fun gore and a love of the movies that came before.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Released under the new GHOST HOUSE UNDERGROUND label, LAST HOUSE IN THE
WOODS follows a young couple who seek shelter from three nasty punks in
the home of an older couple, as the night wanes, it turns out the
couple is so much more nastier than the punks who beat them & tried to
rape the female, as it turns out this family is actually...wait for
it...are you ready?...Cannibalistic maniacs! (& yes they live in the
back woods & use a chainsaw to cut up their victims) Clever & original
idea huh? Soon the couple must escape from the fiends & their good
natured, but cannibalistic saw toothed young son & his two hideously
deformed crazed hillbilly older siblings, but the big question is, Can
they escape with all their body parts attached or escape at all? LAST
HOUSE IN THE WOODS is a return to form of sorts, to the bloody & nasty
Italian splatter flicks of the seventies & eighties, sadly originality
never came back with it. LAST HOUSE IN THE WOODS virtually has nothing
to offer to horror fans except buckets & buckets of blood, which I
guess is good if all you want is gore & little else. The gore on hand
here includes a guy ripping open a giant radioactive lump on one of the
hideously deformed family members, allowing yellow puss to shoot all
over the place & of course for maximum impact also shoots the yellow
liquid into the guy's face & mouth. Chainsawed arms & legs, scenes of
cannibalism, a rock smashing a persons face in, you get the picture.
The acting was quiet good however & the directing was surprisingly well
done, but that still can't mask the rather low production values, lack
of interesting characters or any real suspense. Just how many more of
these Texas Chainsaw Massacre/SAW rip-off's will we have to put up with
before it all stops, I mean is the indie horror film scene really in
that much trouble when it comes to originality & different story lines?
Better luck next time.
I've been on quite a gore kick of late with some zingers like Day of
the Dead (1985), High Tension, Land of the Dead, and May. I'd put this
one in amongst them in terms of gore alone. Some "Unrated" movies I'll
get done with and ask myself why they were branded with such a rating.
Some of the above, including Last House, left no doubt as to why they
deserved to be beyond Restricted (R).
The story, acting, soundtrack, and ambiance initially was enough to make me want to stop the film and get to bed early. It is very poor quality in all of the above. That must have been the point as a direct homage to some of the 70's and 80's films of the same nature. They were bad, but yet had an undeniable power to them with their disturbing scenarios, gratuitous gore including many gross-out scenes, and overall non-PC actions.
The crazies in this one initially played it straight, and seemed like a loving family as do many in such films at first. I wish they had kept this demeanor and tried to be somewhat sympathetic instead of turning into completely sadistic psychopaths - it would have made the crazy setup more disturbing than the generic looney pastiche that I'm so accustomed to.
So if you're looking for a thought provoking and well acted film with a great storyline, then go elsewhere. If you have a bit of a horror vice for being disturbed and grossed out without any of the aforementioned in tow, then pour yourself a tall one and get ready for a stomach churning experience...
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