johnlink ranks THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (2009)

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is a brutal horror/thriller/survival film which is a direct remake of the Wes Craven 1972 film of the same name. I actually saw some of this when it was in theaters, and thought it looked interesting. I’ve been sitting on the Blu Ray for awhile and finally popped it in late last night.

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I watched THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (2009) on 7.10.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is a rape film in that the central plot revolves around a depicted rape of an underage character. That sort of a film is an absolute no-go for people. Personally, I don’t find much entertainment in rape. The original LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, Wes Craven’s 1972 version which I reviewed a couple of years ago, falls on the side of the line which is not really for me.

The problem with most of these films is that the victim is often as exploited by the camera as by her assailants. There is a voyeuristic quality to these films, which often  find the lead girl naked before, during, and after her rape.  While the films will almost always fall short of having us want her to be raped, the nudity is used in a way which invites the audience to watch what is happening. While eroticism may be getting replaced by violence, there is no condemnation of the viewer who sees the former in the latter.

The 2009 LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is a different kind of movie. Filmmaker Dennis Iliadis films the teenage victim-to-be lovingly. His Mari (an excellent Sara Paxton) is shown in her underwear, but the filming is gentle, non-invasive, playful. There is some sense of voyerism at play with the first-person camera following her along the dock before she jumps in for a swim, but there is an innocence to it all which never feels uncomfortable.

When she is later assaulted by a group of people in the woods, most specifically by the group’s leader Krug (Garret Dillahunt), there is nothing remotely sexual or tantalizing about the attack. Most of the camerawork stays on Mari’s face, focusing on her pain. This is immensely hard to watch, there is no entertainment to be found in it, the act doesn’t allow the viewer anywhere to go but to see the evil in Krug.

The two other adults in the group (Aaron Paul and Riki Lindhome) have no redeeming qualities. The one kid among them (ARLINGTON ROAD’s all-grown-up Spencer Treat Clark) is a nice kid who is in a terrible place and has no means to do anything about it.

Like the original, the four baddies end up back at the house of Mari’s parents (Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter). The group becomes civil as they play the role of nice house guests. Soon the parents discover who these people are and they fight back. That’s where this film reverts back to traditional house-invasion style entertainment. At that point it becomes a thriller about parents fighting for both the honor of their daughter and their own survival. The violence which insures is graphic, gritty, and sometimes a bit contrived. But there is a large amount of tension in this film from the time of the Mari’s rape until the final moment.

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The cinematography in this is another pleasant surprise. We get many breathtaking images like the one above. Moreover, the acting in this is very good. There is not one character that pulls you from the reality this movie creates. As thrillers go, this is a movie which does all it sets out to do. The writing may have some cliches, but it also does an effective job of giving us characters who have reasons to do the things they do, even if some of those things are abhorrent.

This is a surprisingly good film. It is not an easy one to watch, but it does payoff well. Monster movies (Freddie and Jason and their ilk) don’t bother me all that much. But I’ll admit that I locked the doors and laid awake in the dark last night watching the shadows on the walls with a little more attention. This film effected me, it reminded me that for all the good there is out there, some folks just have a no desire to participate in the good of humanity. LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is an excellent depiction of such a group of people.

SCORES

FILM: 7; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 8; WRITING: 6; BONUS: 1

This is a film with an excellently haunting score. It adds all the right notes at all the right times.

7+8+8+6+1=30

FINAL SCORE: 7.5 out of 10

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~ by johnlink00 on July 10, 2014.

4 Responses to “johnlink ranks THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (2009)”

  1. sounds like a tough one to get through but I like movies that get into your head and freak you out lol

  2. I don’t really remember liking this one very much but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it. I’m not really a big fan of violence on women films, though…..

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