The Last House on the Left

The Last House on the Left movie poster
MPAA rating: R
Genre: Horror
Parents torture the sadist gang members who kidnapped and brutally assaulted their daughter (Sandra Cassel) and her friend (Lucy Grantham).
Starring: Garret Dillahunt, Michael Bowen, Riki Lindhome, Sara Paxton, Joshua Cox
Director: Dennis Iliadis
Running time: 1:50
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Editorial Review

"The Last House on the Left," a remake of Wes Craven's 1972 film, contains one of the most graphically brutal and terrifying rapes ever put on screen. After it, the action settles into more conventional 21st-century cinematic violence: shootings, stabbings and the like, which finally become comical in their extremes. This version also makes significant changes to the original plot, changes that water down the central idea, rendering it more palatable for mainstream audiences. In the end, like virtually every other remake that has been released recently, it's polished and predictable.

A smash-mouth introduction establishes Krug (creepy Garret Dillahunt from TV's "Deadwood") as the leader of a family of psychos on the lam: brother Giles, girlfriend Sadie and son Justin. At the other end of the social spectrum is the Collingwood family: father John, an ER doctor, mother Emma and daughter Mari. They're on vacation at their lake house.

Mari and her friend Paige run into Justin, who says he has some excellent marijuana. Paige persuades a reluctant Mari to drive them to his place for a little fun. That decision eventually brings the two families together.

Craven's film, far from perfect, was still an influential work in the human-monsters school of horror. In its time, the first film played at drive-ins and grindhouses. A few years later, it was rediscovered by another generation on videotape. Fans have embraced the film, for all its shortcomings, because it goes so far in defying audience expectations. In that regard, this one deliberately falls short.

-- Mike Mayo (March 13, 2009)

Contains extremely graphic sexual violence, drug use, nudity and strong language.