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The Last House on the Left
UKScreen Rating:

The Last House on the Left – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

The Collingwoods – Dad John (Goldwyn), Mum Emma (Potter) and teenaged daughter Mari (Paxton) – pack up and head to their remote lakeside holiday home for a holiday.
The isolation doesn’t appeal to Mari, so as soon as they arrive, she borrows the car and heads to the nearest town to meet her friend Paige (MacIsaac).
The girls meet a troubled teenager Justin (Clark) who invites them back to his motel room to do some weed. Bad idea. Soon after their arrival, Justin’s father Krug (Dillahunt) turns up – with his brother and girlfriend who’ve just broken him out of police custody, killing two officers in the process.
Letting the girls go would be too risky, so the gang believe they have no choice but to murder them – torturing them and raping them first, of course.
When their car won’t start and the heavens open up, they march into the woods to find cover for the night and end up stumbling across a house – as luck would have it, the Collingwood’s lake house.
Despite their fears about their daughter’s failure to come home, Emma and John take pity on the group and offer to put them up in their guest quarters.
When Justin sees a photo of Mari on the fridge, he realises what’s happened and tips her parents off by leaving a necklace they stole from her where Emma will find it.
Once Emma and John realise that Krug and Co are behind Mari’s disappearance, they plan their own suitable vicious revenge.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Thirty seven years ago, Wes Craven directed a chilling, low-budget horror of the same name – now he’s producing a remake.
It’s a growing trend – remaking old horrors – in the past few years, we’ve had the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the Thirteenth, The Hills Have Eyes and so on. As each one gets a similar review – essentially more slick but neither as clever nor as frightening as the original – you wonder why they keep doing it again and again.
It makes money, I guess, bringing a tired old formula to a new audience. This film follows that pattern, with nothing to offer the original audiences, hungry for a reminder of the chills that shot down their spines, back in the 1970s and 80s.
As a piece of film-making in its own right, this is sadistically grisly, frustratingly corny (of all the houses they should stumble across, it’s the home of the girl they’ve just left for dead) and typically, for the genre, most of the true shocks come from doors banging and thunder clapping rather than any clever story-telling or camerawork.
There are too many coincidences and cheesy horror clichés, but if you enjoy the staple ingredients of silly jumps and gory galore and don’t mind the plethora of inconsistencies, it’s a slick revenge horror, with gruesome violence going in both directions, which has as many exhilarating ups as it does patronising downs.

opens nationwide 12th June 2009

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