The Last House on the Left (2009) Review
Written by: the5thdroog
Going into this one it had a lot going against it in my opinion. For starters it was a remake. Another thing was the fact that it was a remake of a movie that I didn’t really care too much for to begin with. On top of that you have Wes Craven giving it his “seal of approval”, which rarely is a good thing for me. To go back for a minute, it wasn’t the subject of the movie from the original that bothered me. I’m a fan of movies like “I Spit on Your Grave” and even “Mother’s Day”, but something about “House” just seemed a little bland to me. This update, however, is a different story.
The story starts with a couple of cops taking a criminal to prison one dark night in a very secluded area. The guy in the backseat mentions that he needs to take a leak and asks if they can pull over. One of the cops looks back at him and gives him a nice “F… You” and goes back to telling the driver a joke. They come to a railroad crossing which happens to be having a train coming by at this hour. The car stops and then suddenly a truck comes from out of nowhere and smashes into the vehicle. A pair of thin legs appear on screen and make their way to the crashed car. The figure looks in on the driver’s side in time to see him cough up some blood. As soon as he coughs he is answered with a bullet to the head. Another person has gotten out of the truck and is checking on the passenger in the backseat. The passenger then gets out and strangles the other cop in the front seat while showing him a picture of his little girls, which he had displayed on the dash of the car in front of him.
We then see Mari (Sara Paxton), on a bright sunny day, swimming and timing herself as she is holding her breath underwater. She races to the end of the pool and gets out to be greeted by her mother (Monica Potter). She is there to pick her daughter up for their family vacation. Next time we see her mother in a hospital waiting for the father (Tony Goldwyn), to get finished playing doctor so he can join the two of them and get away to the lake house. Shortly after they arrive, Mari finds a locket from her dead brother, Ben, and puts it around her neck. She becomes restless and asks her mom if she can go into the town and see her friend Paige (Martha Maclsaac) where she is working. Her dad steps in and forces the mom to agree to this so she takes the keys and heads into town.
Paige is working the local grocery store when she notices a young boy seeming a little suspicious in the snack aisle. She forces him out and he comes to the counter and asks to buy some cigarettes. She asks for ID and he says he’ll trade a favor for her if she will help him out. He overheard Paige talking to Mari about smoking some pot and said he has some really nice stuff back at the motel. They all pile into the car and Mari takes them to the room. Everything is going fine until the people the boy, Justin (Spencer Treat Clark), is sharing the room with show up. We then find out that they are his family and that his father (Garrett Dillahunt) is the escaped prisoner from the earlier scene. There is one female, Sadie (Riki Lindhome), and one male Francis (Aaron Paul) who is Justin’s uncle. Paige and Mari try and politely leave, but are then treated with the news of how Sadie and Justin’s dad are on the front page of the local paper. Now they have to figure out what to do with the two girls. They go for a ride in Mari’s car and are passing Mari’s lake house when she makes a play at an escape attempt of her own. It doesn’t work and she ends up causing a huge accident and totals the car in the process, along with injuring a few of the passengers. The family of fugitives deal with the girls, to the best of their ability, and then have to find a place to lay low, even more so now due to a strong storm that has swept into this small lake community and to nurse their own bumps and bruises from the wreck. They remember seeing a house just before the car left the road and make their way back. They knock on the door to be greeted by Mari’s parents. They don’t know this and the parents don’t know anything is wrong with Mari because they think she is staying over with Paige, but that is when things really start to get interesting.
The acting in this movie was some of the best I’ve seen in a while. I’m a fan of Dillahunt from his Deadwood days, but he plays such a good villain it is hard to completely hate him. The rest of the gang right down to his son also played their parts well. I don’t know if it is harder or easier to play the parts when the tension is always high on the screen, but this cast makes it look easy.
The effects in this one were very good. Many times we are shown just how much the human body can take before actually giving up the ghost. There are some very memorable deaths even though the body count isn’t large. Quality over quantity is a definite plus with this movie. The last scene is one that I will mention to people for some time.
In the end, I really found myself enjoying this movie a lot more than I thought I would. The audience I saw it with seemed to enjoy it as well. I mean I could hear a lot of cringing when the gore showed up, but there were plenty of times for laughs and applauses as well, including the end of the movie. I wasn’t clapping, but the movie seemed much tighter than its predecessor while adding to the overall feeling of the story. So if you’re in the mood to see a brutal movie with some good acting and nice direction then you should also already know the directions on how to get there. It is near the lake, the last house on the left.