The Last House on the Left (2009)


*. You would think these remakes of classic horror films from the 1970s would have an easy job improving on the originals. They have more money, we live in a more permissive age and so they can show more gore, those gore effects are better/more realistic, and, let’s face it, in most cases the originals weren’t very good to begin with.
*. Alas, the remakes only make me appreciate the originals more. Which is especially surprising in this case, given the general awfulness of the 1972 version.
*. One reason may be that being cheap was what made a lot of those original splatterfests so effective. When you throw money and talent at material this down and dirty you only make it seem more artificial and repellent. As Roger Ebert remarked when discussing the original Last House on the Left as one of his “guilty pleasures,” if Craven had made “a plastic Hollywood movie” out of Bergman’s The Virgin Spring it “would almost certainly have failed. But its very artlessness, its blunt force, makes it work.” In this movie we have just that plastic Hollywood remake of Craven, and it certainly does fail.
*. Krug and his gang, for one thing, are far too buff and good looking this time out. They look like a bunch of young Hollywood stars, not cons and killers.
*. Poor Aaron Paul. You work so long on such a big show and you’re basically Jesse Pinkman for life, I’m afraid.
*. Wes Craven’s goal was to tell a story where even good/normal people can be driven to commit evil acts. I don’t find this a terribly profound idea, and it isn’t even that applicable here as the violence is all self-defence, at least until the silly ending with the microwave.


*. I know modern homes are very poorly built, but railings that fall apart that easily are dangerous and can’t be up to code.
*. It’s very difficult to show someone doing CPR properly on film because it’s such a violent act. Instead, it’s usually presented like it is here, with Dr. Collingwood barely rubbing his daughter’s chest as he tries to revive her. This isn’t much of a public service.
*. I don’t like the camera’s gaze as Mari gets dressed after she comes out of the shower. If I want to watch sexy, I’ll watch sexy. Here you’re leering at someone you know is about to be raped.
*. I think it’s a worthless movie. It has none of the rawness of the original, and is in fact remarkably tamed down in some areas (there is no disembowelment, Mari gets to live, the abuse of the girls is less sensational). Instead it’s a glossy and very conventional horror film that doesn’t bring anything new to the table and doesn’t take any risks.
*. Yes, I know what you’re wondering. Is the business with the microwave possible, even assuming you could get the microwave to work with the door open? I don’t think so, at least the way it’s represented here.
*. Come to think of it, nothing about the ending makes any sense (Dr. Collingwood goes away, then comes back to kill Krug?). But you’re probably not supposed to analyse it that much.
*. I can’t think of any reason why I would recommend this movie to someone. Life is short! Spend it doing other things.


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