Film Reviews

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT

By • May 2nd, 2009 •

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Terrifying. Director Iliadis burns tension and Garret Dillahunt still scares me. Makes Ned Beatty’s DELIVERANCE rape look like a romance.

In 1972 Wes Craven leapt to the forefront of horror with the now classic THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. Craven and Sean Cunningham have revisited their landmark film, turning the directing duties over to Dennis Iliadis. Since I knew Wes and David Hess (the original Krug) quite well, I was not going to review this remake.

However, LAST HOUSE is so good, terrifying, and frightening, I have decided it stands on its own.

Do not go anywhere without a weapon you have decided you will use in the event your life is on the line.

Physician John Collingwood (Tony Goldwyn) and his wife Emma (Monica Potter) return to their last lake house on the left with their swim champ daughter Mari (Sara Paxton). Mari immediately takes off to visit her friend Paige (Martha MacIaasc) and they meet up with monosyllabic young drifter Justin (Spencer Treat Clark), the son of ruthless killer Krug (Garret Dillahunt). They go with Justin to his motel room to smoke pot.

Krug’s brother Giles (Joshua Cox) and Krug’s girlfriend Sadie (Riki Landhome) have just sprung prison-bound Krug, killing his police escorts in an intentional car crash. They are splashed all over the newspapers.

Bad things happen when you go off with a hooded stranger to smoke weed.

Things quickly turn bad. Krug, Giles and Sadie return unexpectedly and decide they have to eliminate the girls. They go off in the woods and horrific terror begins for Mari and Paige. Both girls fight back!

I shudder to think of the many times I went camping (and that includes Rwanda and Uganda) without a sharp knife strapped to my leg.

As a rainstorm pounds, Krug and his threesome make it to the only residence in the area, the Collingwood house. Giles needs medical attention, so Dr. John is obligated to care for him and allows them to stay in their guesthouse.

It is soon clear that Krug and his family are responsible for brutalizing Mari and the forgotten Paige. John and Emma have to decide whether or not to strike back.

Finally, victims who fight back without consulting their moral compass.

The audience cheered.

Here is where the skill of director Dennis Iliadis shines. And the casting of Dillahunt. Without a truly menacing psychopath who incites a “fight or flight” response in the audience, there can be no horror movie worth recommending.

I recommend THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT for pure terror. Be forewarned: There is a shocking rape.

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