Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Last House on the Left (2009)

Directed by Dennis Iliadis.
2009. Rated R, 114 minutes (unrated DVD version).
Sara Paxton
Garret Dillahunt
Tony Goldwyn
Monica Potter
Michael Bowen
Joshua Cox
Riki Lindhome
Aaron Paul
Martha MacIsaac
Spencer Treat Clark

Mari (Paxton) is hanging out with her friend Paige (MacIsaac) at the store where Paige works. While there, the two meet Justin (Clark) who says he has a stash of weed back at his hotel room. Shortly after the girls get there, they find themselves in a room full of psychotic criminals with other plans for them.

Unlike the original, this version dispenses with almost any notion of comic relief and vividly presents its nihilistic tale without hesitation or reservation. It helps that in the nearly 40 years since the original, movie violence has become progressively more graphic. Not that I'm some sort of gore fiend or twisted sadist but that helps this film do what it sets out to do: present a realistic enough scenario to be disturbing.

The remake also dispenses with almost any notion of metaphor. That movie is essentially about the feminist movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and in its own warped way, champions the cause. This movie is all surface. Though it does tap into parental angst, its ultimately a run of the mill revenge flick. Finally, our cast of villains isn't quite as intriguing as it should be. Yes, they're evil but not quite as bizarre as the troupe in the original.

For horror fans, this is a fine entry and a remake that's surprisingly on par with the original. What it lacks in originality, eccentricity and symbolism, it makes up in tone, storytelling and by adding a little more gore. It only flinches in comparison to its predecessor with regards to the fate of our young female lead, but it makes up for it with a microwave finale that just has to be seen.

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