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Review: Last House on the Left '09

In On Film on March 21, 2009 at 10:01 am


Well, I am in total shock. I went into this movie expecting another wretched remake that would just join the ranks of the other remakes that have came and went (and sucked). But you know what? This movie wasn’t that bad. Yes, you read that right. This was actually a good remake. Now I’m still totally against remaking horror movies (or any other movie for that matter), but nonetheless, this movie was actually good.

If you’re familiar with the original you know that when the film was initially released in 1972. Wes Craven and Sean Cunningham set out to make something shocking¬† and certainly did so. Like the original, the film mainly follows Mari Collingwood and her family. However, one slight different plot point in the remake is that the story is based around Mari and her family going on vacation to a Summer lake house. If you’ve seen the original, you know it follows Mari and her friend Phyllis as they plan to celebrate Mari’s 17th birthday by attending a concert. In this film, Mari’s accomplice is a girl name Paige.¬† While visiting Paige at the local convenience store where she works, they run into a young man named Junior. Looking for a good time, they accompany Junior back to his hotel room looking to score some “good shit”. You can imagine where all of this leads.

If you’ve watched the original, you know the film is pretty disturbing. I mean, when the movie is banned in various countries, you know you’re dealing with something special. One thing that I adored about the remake is how they didn’t water the original material down just to pull in casual movie goers. Everything that made the original disturbing is still here. I honestly can’t think of a time while I was watching the film where I felt like they were “pulling the punches”. Like I said, if you have saw the original, you know exactly what is in the movie. Taking that out would no doubt lessen the impact of the event altogether. Well thankfully we don’t have to worry about that here. Again, kudos to the filmmakers for not watering this down.

I also can find no qualms with any of the actors in the film. Every performance is effective. Tony Goldwyn, for me, was the stand out of the film. He did a great job as “Dad” and was successful in making the audience root for him throughout. Sara Paxton did a good job as Mari. I simply say “good” because she wasn’t great, but she also wasn’t bad. Riki Lindhome did an amazing job with the portrayal of Sadie. I found myself hating her and yearning for the scene where she finally met her gristly end, and in a movie like this, that’s a good thing.

I have raved about the film thus far, but let me also say that this movie certainly wasn’t perfect. I still prefer the original to this version. Why? Well, one thing that I thought plagued the remake was an abundance of scenes that made no sense/didn’t contribute to the story whatsoever. I felt like a lot of this should have been cut, like I said, some of it just leaves you scratching you’re head. And of course, like a lot of horror movies, there’s a lot of stupid moments where you find yourself wondering why it takes certain people so long to kill other people when numerous perfect opportunities are presented. One other thing that bugged me was the end. Sure it was extremely cool, but at the same time, I was confused as to why what was happening was happening.

With all that said, I am still in shocked that I actually liked this movie. This was honestly the first remake I have ever enjoyed. Sure it wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t water down the original material, and for that I have to applaud it. Last House on the Left ’09 is R-rated and extremely violent, and for modern day horror, that’s saying something.

Final Grade: B+

  1. Holy crap, really? I was wanting to see this, but I didn’t expect it to actually be good.

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