Previous Review
Next Review
March 22, 2009
Review - " Last House on the Left "  - (in Theaters) By Roland Hansen
For comments or to submit a movie review for possible inclusion on Delta Films site
please send an email to
Last House on the Left movie poster
The Last House on the Left

Starring: Garret Dillahunt, Michael Bowen, Joshua Cox, Riki Lindhome,
Aaron Paul, Sara Paxton, Monica Potter, Tony Goldwyn,
Martha MacIsaac, Spencer Treat Clark, Usha Khan
Directed by: Dennis Iliadis

Wes Craven’s cult classic feature "The Last House on the Left" gets a
classy remake at the hands of Dennis Iliadis, who rediscovers the hard
edge of revenge in this story of a mother and father who confront their
daughter’s attacker in the name of revenge. Grotesquely violent, but
beautifully photographed with a hint of ‘70s nostalgia, the movie is a
bit too gory and disturbing to be fun, but it does rediscover Craven’s
hardcore style for a new generation.

A novelty that went beyond slasher violence and sexual titillation with
graphic images of rape, mutilation and murder, "The Last House on
the Left" begins as we watch a beautiful young woman (Sara Paxton)
swim lengths at the local pool. Her mom (Monica Potter) watches on
with timer in hand while dad (Tony Goldwyn) works over at the hospital
and gets ready to take the family on a holiday. Things haven’t been
easy for the Collingwood family since son and big brother Ben died
last year, but the grieving group hopes to rebuild their lives with a little
downtime at the isolated family cottage - the last house on the left.
Good horror always exploits emotional vulnerability, and Iliadis nails the martyr factor early on as Mom, Dad and Mari
Collingwood put on a brave face and march into their post-tragedy life with wilful optimism. But almost as soon as they pull
into the driveway, things teeter on the brink of bad. Mari decides to see her old buddy Paige (Martha MacIsaac) at the local
convenience store, where they soon meet Justin (Spencer Treat Clark), a shy shifty kid with a hoodie and a psycho killer’s
facial expressions. In exchange for leniency on the cigarette age restriction, Justin offers Paige and Mari some great weed,
which he has back at the motel room. Despite the blaring sirens screaming danger, Paige and Mari join Justin and share
some smoke, but just as they were about to leave, Justin’s father, uncle and would-be stepmom crash the party.

Uncle Fred and Mommy Dearest just broke Dad out of jail in a violent and murderous rampage, which means Paige and Mari
have to die. The girls are tortured and beaten. Paige is stabbed in the stomach and dies slowly as Mari is raped by Justin’s
father. Mari attempts to escape via the lake, but is shot in the back as she nears freedom. The trio need a new set of
wheels, and stumble into a remote cottage -- the last house on the left. The band of killers (with a horrified Justin in tow)
ends up knocking on the door of Mari’s parents, John and Emma, and are invited to spend the night in light of the bad
weather and their smashed car. Mari has managed to crawl her way home and is left battered and bleeding on the coffee
table while her attackers sleep peacefully in the guest house. When Justin leaves Mari’s necklace on the kitchen counter,
the folks realize their little girl - and only surviving child - has been raped and nearly murdered at the hands of their guests,
they fight for their survival by taking matters into their own hands. Dr. and Mrs. Collingwood embark on a revenge-fuelled
rampage of their own. What follows lives up to some of the more creative revenge fantasies out there as Dad, a surgeon,
finds novel ways of immobilizing his daughter’s tormentor. Iliadis also throws in a few creative moments of his own, by
offering up a shot of a man’s hand pulled into a garbage disposal, and using a broken microwave for eye-popping effect.

Last House shows the rape scene head-on, agonizingly brutal. No one who sees it will be unaffected by it. Justin , who
travels with the evil killers (his father, played by Garret Dillahunt and his uncle, played by Aaron Paul), doesn't agree with
their violent behavior but is too scared to stand up to them. He's the ambiguous link between good and evil, and he muddies
the story considerably. Also, one of the killers is a woman (Riki Lindhome); she watches her husband/boyfriend rape the
teenage girl, and then later cuddles in bed with him. This woman is pure evil and would gladly join her significant other in his
twisted sexual endeavors.

Going into the theater I didn't expect Last House
to wow me with anything new and original. I did,
however, expect it to be at least mildly successful
as a horror film, and to some extent, it is. The cast
is rather good, the photography often surprises
with its beauty and subtlety, and I imagine it will be
quite suspenseful for audiences who haven’t seen
the original. I’m guessing that will be about 90%
of the people who will be seeing it in theatres.

"The Last House on the Left" is extremely violent
and grizzly. It's not for the faint of heart. If the
audience has the desire (and the stomach) to
stick around for the grisly denouement, they’ll
find some satisfaction in the scenarios and
cheer as the bad guys get their just desserts.
Joshua Cox & Sara Paxton - Last House on the Left