The Last House on the Left (2009) Review
Written by: jmh314
I will start this off by saying, I am not a fan of the original Last House on the Left. When I heard it was being remade, I was indifferent because I wasnt too interested. The trailers for this remake ended up hooking me in and I decided to see it with low expectations. When I walked out of the theater, I was suprisingly impressed. It was a very effective film, filled with tension and unsettling moments. It had a very classic feel to it but presented in a modern way and didnt take the cheap way out like many remakes by trying to push the bar. I feel this all helped make The Last House on the Left remake a tight little film that left me on the edge of my seat and left me very satisfied feeling as the credit began to role.
The Last House on the Left follows Mari Collingwood and her parents as they take a trip to their vacation home in the woods. Mari and her parents are still a little down over the death of their brother/son so they hope to relax. Once they get to the lakehouse, Mari wants to go visit her friend Paige who works in the local market. Her mom is reluctant and wants to spend time as a family, but her dad lets her borrow the car and go.
Mari meets up with Paige at work and they meet a quite boy named Justin in the store. He promises to exhange marijuana for some cigarettes, so the girls take him back to his motel room to collect. Once in the room the girls smoke a little drugs and give Justin a makeover when Justin's dad, dads girlfriend, and uncle come home. His uncle just helped his dad escape from police custody and they dont take too kindly to Mari and Paige being there
After some a daring attempt to escape in which Mari causes Justin's dad to crash Mari's parents car, Mari and Paige soon find themselves fighting for their lives. Once Mari and Paige are believed to be dead, Justin and everybody end up at the Collingwood house. Unknown this is the parents of the girl they killed, they soon find themselves at a war with the Collingwoods in which the Collingwoods will do anything to protect themselves from their daughters killers.
The one thing I will say about The Last House on the Left is that it is emotionally draining. It really is very tense with some honest, brutal violence. Nothing is too over the top but it is very raw and sometimes very realistic. The FX are a big part of this as the bruising and deaths are very realistic as all the characters bodys take different tolls of punishment.
The acting was really spot on for a film like this. Garret DIllahunt, Joshua Cox, and Riki Lindhome were very good as the roles as the unforgiving, do whatever it takes to get out of this, criminal roles. Spencer Treat Clark was a good choice for Justin as he had the quite, shy kid role down pat. Tony Goldwyn was very good as Mr Collingwood who knew he had to do whatever it takes to protect himself and his wife from these psychopaths. It really was one of the better casts I have seen in a theatrical horror film in some time. Just goes to show you dont need big names to make a movie like this work.
The Last House on the Left is an example of a horror remake done right. It doesnt need to be redone and be in your face, over the top inorder to please todays film goer. It just has to tell a great story with great atmosphere and build up true tension and tug at human emotions. I was in a theater with only about a dozen other people but the gasps and reactions they made were real, and they were unlike the screams you hear in cheap "pop out" scare horror remakes.
So with that said, go see The Last House on the Left. It real gets under your skin and never leaves you. It tugs on real human fears and emotions and will leave many viewers feeling like they need to take a shower and hug their family when they get home. It's that real.