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I'll keep this short and sweet. This was gruesome and twistedly
faithful to the original in spirit and effect. I totally expected to be
the one tortured when watching, well I should have left my preconceived
notions at the door. The acting was sharp, the plot devices made just
enough sense that it never broke my disbelief and I admittedly had to
briefly look away from some scenes.
The setup was stellar and the ending did not disappoint. I give it a 7 but if it was possible I would have given it a 7.5.
Good for the genre and great by comparison of other remakes.
I would definitely suggest it to anyone that enjoys the genre.
As a fan of the original 1972 version, I wasn't expecting a lot, but at
the same time, with Wes being brought in as a producer, I felt it had
to live up to some expectations.
What I got was a fun yet torturous movie that had the audience with it the whole time. They were gasping, hollering, sighing, saddened, and later clapping, laughing and woo'ing. It really takes you for a ride from the first moment and only lets up briefly, only to take you back down again.
While the original scores higher for "shock factor," this one still has plenty of gore and story. I'm not going to give anything away because I'm sure most of you know the story by the trailers, but overall this is an intense film that you won't forget anytime soon. If you know what happens, you'll be happy when the second half of the film picks up. If you have no idea, try to enjoy the ride as I'm sure you'll leave satisfied.
A few people in my theater left before it ended, so if you feel sick or faintful, just keep repeating to yourself: it's only a movie, it's only a movie, it's only a movie...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Let's face it, there are a lot of remakes, there are some good one's:
The Thing, The Hills have Eyes, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There
are some average one's: House of Wax, House on Haunted Hill, and War of
the Worlds. Then there are the bad one's: Halloween, The Fog, and
Psycho. Last House on the Left, my parents had absolutely held me from
the original movie, but when I became an adult I rented the movie and
watched it by myself, I was just so curious what they were trying to
hold me back from, I wasn't really shocked with the movie, I could see
how it was gritty and brutal in the day, but after seeing movies like I
spit on your grave, Hostel, Dirty Harry, Casino, etc, it just didn't
really effect me. So I was actually looking forward to a remake of this
just to see what they would do with the story and I have to say that
they not only made it better, it was just a very great horror film that
made me want to take 15 showers afterwards.
Mari and her family are going on vacation. When they arrive at the house, Mari asks to sleep in the guest house instead of in the main house. Mari's brother, Ben, had died one year earlier, and the family are still trying to adjust to his absence. She finds a necklace he gave her and puts it on. She decides to ride into town to see her friend Paige. Mari's mother, Emma, is cautious, but her father, John, lets her go. Mari meets up with Paige at the store where Paige is employed. A young kid named Justin approaches the counter and asks for a pack of cigarettes, which Paige does not give to him due to his age. Justin says that if they join him at his motel room, he will give them marijuana. Paige agrees and sells him the cigarettes. They drive to Justin's motel room and Justin and Paige enter. Mari waits in the car but notices they are taking too long. She enters the room where she finds Justin and Paige on the bed getting high. She joins them and they decide to give Justin a makeover. They are interrupted by Krug, Sadie, and Francis. Krug explains that it is too risky to let Paige and Mari live. They decide to not only murder but rape the young girls. The gang goes to Mari's house not knowing that's where she's staying with her parents, her parents welcome the gang in thinking they got into a car accident. But Mari somehow survives and comes back home; her parents discover that the people they've been helping are the same people that just tried to murder their daughter and now it's time for justice.
This is the movie that you cannot wait to see justice brought to these sleazebags, they were so disgusting, I was just screaming and cheering in the theater. Like the tag line said, if bad people hurt someone you love, how far would you go to hurt them back? If that was my daughter, you wouldn't wanna know the sick things I would've done to these slimy people. The thing that made this movie so horrific was how realistic it was. The rape scene doesn't show much but is one of the most graphic and disturbing in cinema, even my 25 year old boyfriend had to cover his eyes, he said he was just incredibly sick from it because he can't imagine the pain she was going through. The performances are on and the story is great. I would say this is one of the best remakes in years, this is not for the faint of heart though, but if you're curious about the remake, trust me, this was a very respectful movie of the original horror story of murder and revenge.
The biggest problem with horror movies today, specifically major
Hollywood productions, is that even more than romantic comedies and the
like, it is treated by studios and directors as an entry level
position. These aren't, after all, the big dramas or 'prestige' movies.
The result is an endless barrage of derivative, uninteresting tripe,
many of them remakes produced by the like of Michael Bay and directed
by those attempting to get started in the industry. Why this is even
more of a problem is because horror films and comedy films depend on
one essential thing: timing. Those which fall in the category of
'suspense thrillers', those which don't really seek to scare as much as
your average slasher, films like "The Last House on the Left", depend
on atmosphere. They depend on the building of suspense and tension and
dread, even when the outcome is insanely predictable. These films
require a director who has talent with timing, with creating
atmosphere, with building suspense, and most of the time, especially
recently (sure, there have always been awful horror films, but there
was a time when studios financed some respectable films at least), the
directors who take on such projects seem either incapable or
uninterested in doing all they can to make the film work.
"The Last House on the Left" is a 're-imagining' of Wes Craven's accidental classic from 1972. That film displays Craven's potential, but while certain sequences are compelling it is cheap, clumsy, has a bizarrely chirpy bluegrass score, some awful acting (and some good acting), and the movie's biggest flaw: a Benny Hill-like slapstick subplot. Still, the movie worked. It worked precisely because Craven managed to create that atmosphere. That feel. The biggest fear I had going into this 're-imagining' is that the director Dennis Iliadis would turn out to be another Marcus Nispel, coming off his one previous film from 2004, "Hardcore", a film about prostitutes I had never heard about.
I needn't have worried. The film is far from perfect, but Iliadis' direction is one of the film's strongest points. Along with the excellent photography the film creates a dark, foreboding, grimy atmosphere of horror, and wisely cuts out the original film's slapstick, and also fixes the score: replacing it with gorgeous, haunting compositions which occasionally give way to guitars, but thankfully not too often. Iliadis uses hand-held camera as well as anyone, not over-doing it at all, but filming everything with a stark sort of clarity, and he finds a surprisingly effective rhythm for the film which keeps it from ever being mundane. The director is one to watch out for in the horror and thriller genres. Perhaps his most impressive achievement in the film is the incredibly tasteful and brutally disturbing rape scene. The film, like the original, avoids the pornographic nature of many rape-revenge thrillers, such as "I Spit on Your Grave" or for a more recent example the 'unofficial' remake of "The Last House on the Left" from 2005: "Chaos", which was so gleefully vicious it became sickening, not effectively disturbing.
Michael Phillips said it best: "The way director Iliadis shapes the key misery-inducing sequence, there's no hype or slickness or attempt to make the rape palatable or visually "dynamic." For that you have to go see Watchmen." The performances help. The only weak one is Riki Lindhome as Sadie, the murderous Krug's girlfriend. She takes her top off more than once for the movie's unneeded but inevitable nudity, but does little else. Garret Dillahunt is great as Krug and the rest of the cast good too, especially Monica Potter as Emma, the raped Mary's mother.
I won't spoil the changes to the story for you but it does a lot to separate itself from the original. It's not a straight remake and the changes work. The film's ultimate triumph is its intimacy. Iliadis succeeds in putting you in Mary's place and in her parents' place. Not one who succumbs much to vengeful thinking, I was convinced by the film that I'd have done the same things were I in the place of Mary's father, John, played by Tony Goldwyn.
The film's major flaw is the very last scene, a nonsensical moment belonging more in a Stuart Gordon film than this one. Up to that point, in spite of some mediocre sequences, the film is a triumph of atmosphere and style, and is genuinely well-written. If you're looking for fun or an intellectually stimulating film look elsewhere. For a shockingly, shockingly good rape-revenge thriller look no further. This movie works. It doesn't only stand head and shoulders above every other recent horror remake (and certainly the ones out so far in 2009), but it is in a whole other league when compared to most of the genre films Hollywood forces down our throats.
If you've ever read any of my other reviews you know how I feel personally about re-makes. Most horror fans feel the same way I do (yet we still watch these things!) so needless to say I went into this movie expecting to be disappointed. I was actually pleasantly surprised by how well this one was. Yes there are the usual cases of character name changes, scene and dialog changes and complete story line changes for no apparent reason but the basic premise that made the original film so creepy was somehow still retained. The major story line change in this one has been discussed in previous reviews and revolves around main character Mari (I won't reveal any major changes for the benefit of those who haven't seen it yet) and yes I was EXTREMELY disappointed with these changes but as I said I went into the film expecting to be let down so this helped to soften the blow. This version of "Last House on the Left" has a considerable amount of added gore sequences as well but they are not overly done or thrown in for no apparent reason other than shock value (as was the case in the unofficial 'Last House on the Left' re-make 'Chaos' directed by David DeFalco). Nowadays there really is no way to re-create the grainy, almost documentary like filming style of the original which is one of the main elements that added to the general feel of the film, but these filmmakers did an exceptional job of making the viewer curl in disgust at the actions of the villains and cheer and applaud the violence that befalls them. If you enjoyed the original you will most likely enjoy this one as well...just make sure you watch it and avoid the aforementioned "Chaos".
What I took into Last House 09 was what I knew about the original (by
the way i have the original movie on DVD and it has been sitting there
unwatched for a few years), and I must admit it's definitely a quality
movie, great acting, wrought tension and great scares, i must say there
were times I was hiding behind my hands because it was so suspenseful.
It is also beautifully shot and looks amazing, Dennis Iliadis direction is superb and he gets every bit of energy and emotion from all of his cast. The actors are also really well cast, Garett Dillahunt is truly frightening as the movie's main bad guy, Riki Lindholme portrays Sadie with true evil and is very very creepy, Monica Potter and Tony Goldwyn both pull off the typical family putting on a brave face (considering the back story which i'll not spoil for anyone who hasn't seen the movie yet), that are put in a position where they have to do what they can to protect their daughter's life and their own. Sara Paxton and Martha MacIsaac also show that they are capable of a more dramatic element than just a comedy and teen movie fare, that we are used to seeing them in.
The only thing I hated about the movie was the rape scene, the build up was just so intense that I found myself covering my ears so I couldn't hear what was going on, but apart from that go see this movie if you want to see how a remake should be done.
A thought provoking, pulse racing thriller, that will have you on the edge of your seat until the credits roll.
Last House on the Left is a revenge flick sure, but it's also study on
pure maternal instinct and revenge. It is also a remake of the 1972
film by Wes Craven, which in turn is a remake of the art film, Virgin
Spring (1960) by Ingmar Bergman.
Two cute girls, teenagers are hanging out, find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time when they go to the apartment of a boy named Justin (Spencer Treat Clark) to smoke some pot and chill out, when his family comes back who are wanted in the connection with some local murders. Now they can't let the girls go. From there things get steadily worse until the girls are left brutalized.
The convicts having driven out to the middle of nowhere find their way to a small cabin to recuperate, until the happy couple waiting for their daughter to bring the car home realize these are the men who hurt their daughter, and they aren't going to take it lying down.
In the feel of Hostel, extreme violence in retribution ensues, and that's pretty much the entire flick. You might recognize Garret Dillahunt who plays the lead baddie, Krug from the prime time series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Michael Bowen ("Lost", Magnolia, Jackie Brown), Joshua Cox ("Strong Medicine"), Sara Paxton as the daughter (Summerland), and Riki Lindhome as the friend (My Best Friend's Girl).
The pacing is strong, and somehow the film works a lot better than say a movie like Hostel for reason of solid directing, acting, and simple but effective script.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Seriously....what is it with this trend of remaking classics, and
replacing the casts with Benetton models? This movie was weak, compared
to the 1972 original. It copped out on all the 'sleazy' elements that
MADE the original such a hit, and replaced it with silly macho heroics,
a cast devoid of ANY personality, and pointless gore. Look at the 1972
version.....that was a nasty movie, that earned the criticism it
provoked. The cast was excellent, haunting music, just enough on-screen
violence to get it's point across, but plenty of what Hollywood is too
scared to replicate nowadays......NASTINESS. At least the original
portrayed what actually happens to people taking the law into their own
hands, in a realistic manner. This remake gives the impression that
it's OK to torture people, afterwards (losing all of what made the
original movie so dark) Look at the end of LHOTL (72) the father and
mother are morbidly disgusted by their actions (however justified) and
are soon to be carted off to prison for their actions. The remake has
no connection with reality at all, and even feels the need to tack on
an extra amount of added brutality, as if to keep up with HOSTEL 2,
whilst forgetting that it's missed the point completely and portrayed
the parents as even bigger psychopaths (hell, their daughter doesn't
even die in this one!!!!!)
In the original, i actually felt sorry for Mari and Phyliss (they came across as ordinary-looking, young girls) which made the actions of Krug & Co, even more deplorable. The (ahem) actresses in this one were vile, Hannah Montana wannabes (with zero personality, character or dialogue) Don't get me started on the Krug from 2009 version either.......
All-in-all, another nail in the coffin of genuine 'horror' cinema, by the hacks at Hollywood (who treat it's audiences with the contempt, you obviously deserve)
Shame on Wes Craven, for having anything to do with it (he surely has enough money, these days?)
I don't think I have to introduce people to the original Last House, the storyline here is the same. So a remake. They who have seen my reviews know that I'm not into remakes. Friday the 13th missing something, My Bloody Valentine had some I Know What You Did over it. The only remakes that were good so far were The Hills and Halloween. Well, add this one too. It clocks in over more than 90 minutes just like MBV, I watched my watch a lot when watching MBV, I never did watching this gem. This movie doesn't have any CGI, they go for brutality and straight horror. From the first 5 minutes you know what you will get. The first part is the humiliation of the two girls, the second part is the revenge, both coming straight to you, and the score helps too. The score does work here. All actors are believable. After having some rough movies from France I guess Hollywood has his lesson, here they proof that they are capable of making them too (without the help of French directors like The Hills). I was very surprised with this remake. Oh yeah, there is nudity but I doesn't distract you from the storyline as it did with MBV. A must have in your collection.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This remake is a prime example of how "Revenge Cinema" is the new "in"
sub-genre in Horror.
To those who haven't seen the original I can suggest to watch this remake without thinking it's a remake. To me, it was very hard not to compare both.
While the original has brutal, sadistic, and cruel violence; this remake was very toned down. Don't get me wrong, I'm not supporting raping, cruelty, and extreme violence; but the movie's plot and message justifies it.
The most important scene in the movie deals with the raping of a virgin underage girl. In the original it's a brutal scene that also deals with gore and more; on this remake the fore-mentioned scene was VERY TONED DOWN by Hollywood and you can say it by the editing. The original was just merciless and painful to watch but it justified the parent's rage and revenge. Also, Paige's death was very light in this remake and well, as she wasn't a very developed character I didn't care that much for her.
And that's my main beef with the remake. We didn't get much character development. First, Mari's parents were supposed to be on a marital crisis but it just was hinted; we didn't get also a development of their rage and revenge when they watched their ill daughter. On the villains side, we didn't get a complete development to Sadie's character, I mean, she didn't add anything to the plot she just was there looking hot and that's it. The same thing with Francis; he didn't have something interesting to add except his nasty broken nose.
Krug was by far the most interesting character in the movie but he truly didn't have real moments to demonstrate why he was the main and most brutal villain in the movie.
But after all, the plot delivers expectations and it's very clear since the beginning that this is going to be a 100% revenge flick. I dug it.
The Direction is really classy and the atmosphere is always pale, sad, and unsettling. The lake and forest settings add mystery to the plot. Also, the camera angles are very good and creative for a movie like this; I liked the direct-to-video feeling which increases the disturbing factor.
The acting is great. Everyone is perfect on their role. Special mention for Ben Goodwin who delivers a brave, dramatic, and raging performance. Great actor! Sarah Paxton delivers also a brave performance, way to go girl! With your looks and moods, I couldn't believe you starred in such a brutal film. Monica Potter looks really pretty but acts brave and smart when she had to do it. I really expected her character to use her sexuality as a weapon against her daughter's aggressors. But that's just me.
I expected more violence on a revenge flick, I mean, the villains did something horrible and they deserved fatal and horrific demises as consequence. Maybe society is changing for good...
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