Friday, March 13, 2009

The Last House on the Left [2009]

Genre - Horror
Year Released - 2009
Running Time - 100 minutes
Rated R for sadistic brutal violence - including a rape, disturbing images, language, nudity, and drug use
Directed by Dennis Iliadis
Written by Carl Ellsworth (who also wrote Disturbia & Red Eye) and Adam Alleca
*Based on the 1972 film written & directed by Wes Craven
Cast Includes:
Sara Paxton (Aquamarine)
Tony Goldwyn (Friday the 13th: Part VI and The Last Samurai)
Monica Potter (Patch Adams, Con Air, Without Limits, and Saw)
Martha MacIsaac (Becca from Superbad)
Spencer Treat Clark (Unbreakable)
Garret Dillahunt (from the television series Deadwood, The 4400, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles)
Riki Lindhome
Aaron Paul

Rating: 3 Skulls

The Theatrical Poster for the Original 1972 Version

Plot Summary:
While vacationing at their summer home, Emma and John Collingwood show kindness to a group of strangers, unaware that they just assaulted their daughter. Once they learn the truth, they set out on a no-holds-barred plan for revenge that can only end in bloodshed.

I totally went into this film with an open mind, and for a while, it worked.
Every other day now, I hear news of inevitable remakes, and I am at at the point now where, since there is really nothing that I can do to prevent them, I figure that I may as well try to at least see what the filmmakers are going for [other than just making a quick buck]

The strange thing with this film was that I saw it in a theatre full of women - how weird is that? It was me, and about 12 other women - I was the only guy! Then about 10 minutes into the movie, an older couple came in, though they ended up leaving during the rape scene - they missed the brutal opening, otherwise, I do not think they would have lasted that long!

It has probably been about 15 years since I've seen the original. If you have never seen the original, it is one of those films that is not easy to forget, hence my not bothering to refresh my memory.
Even though this film didn't hold back, I do not see it having the same impact as the original version. This version didn't have the "never forget 'that' moment" [men, you know which scene I'm talking about] In my mind, I tried not to compare this film to the original, but ultimately it couldn't be helped. . .

One of my main concerns about this film was the character of Krug [originally played by David Hess] Hess did such an excellent job in the original that I was worried if Dillahunt would be able to play him as sadistically. I am happy to say that he did. There was just something about the way Dillahunt portrayed Krug - like he really didn't want to be as sick as he was, yet he just couldn't help himself. Dillahunt played Krug with a slow-burn effect. He just simmered, growing hotter and hotter, until he just exploded with rage! Also, Riki Lindhome did an excellent job as Krug's girlfriend Sadie! I also liked the dynamic of Krug's son being involved - that added an interesting element.

Here's the trailer:

Now, let's talk about what I HATED about the film.
I DESPISED the last sixty seconds of this film! [It almost made me want to give the movie a lower rating!] I mean, who thought that was a good idea?!?

If you plan on seeing this film, then I highly suggest that you leave when the sun starts to come up - at this point the film is almost over, and if you leave immediately, you will not be subjected to one of the most idiotic endings in film history!

Other than the very end, this is a decent film - it still does not compare with the original, and if you have never seen the original, then I suggest you do [either before or after this one, it really doesn't matter, as it is the exceptional film]



Wings said...

Jason - Well, that intrigues me. I hadn't heard anything about the ending, good or bad, until now.

I do plan on seeing it. Whether it is in theaters or when it comes to DVD remains to be seen.

The original left such a depressing memory to me that I, as well, have not revisited it in a LONG time.

Thanks for the review!

Bo said...

Not to shamelessly self-promote, but my full review is up here : I only give the link because there is so much to say, but I do agree with your assessment of the ending. Also, I think this is head and shoulders above most of the Platinum Dunces remakes which seem to exploit the originals where this one approaches the story with care, especially Dillahunt's performance as Krug. Well done!

gotankgo said...

Interesting review. The original is one rough flick, however I'm curious on some level to see this one. May wait for a cable or dvd viewing though.

thebonebreaker said...

My pleasure Wings! :-)


Self-promote away - you know that I am a fan of your reviews - I particularly liked the way that you stated this in your review:
"the whole thing is too pristine, too antiseptic, to achieve the visceral horror of the 1972 film"
Well put!


This one is put together well enough to warrant a trip to the theatre, however if there are other films out there [Watchmen, cough, cough] that you haven't yet seen, then this one can wait till DVD or Cable, no problem.


Phantom of Pulp said...

Yes, I agree, the last sixty seconds is ridiculous.

WHY did they include it?

It makes no sense.

The boat heading out into the lake is a fine conclusion.

Leave it at that.

Film-Book dot Com said...

I was not going to see this but now I think I might have to. I need to get the taste of Friday the 13th out of my mouth anyway.

thebonebreaker said...


I agree with you wholeheartedly!!


Like Phantom stated, leave when the boat heads out into the lake - otherwise your bad taste will only get worse ;-)


Bo said...

Also, that last kill feels too much like the screenwriters were thinking, "How can we kill someone in a cool way?" when the point of the film has nothing to do with the cool kill. Very frustrating.

thebonebreaker said...

Exactly Bo!
[and for the record, it was a pretty stupid way, anyway]


Wings said...

Okay - saw the movie last night. My thought are here at my blog.

Have to disagree on the end. Wasn't the worst ending ever, but maybe that is cause I knew that scene was in the movie somewhere and was expecting it.

Agree with most else you had to say, though!

coffee said...

this looks like one of those flicks where we look forward to the bad guys getting whooped

Johnny said...

Totally agree with most of what ya said (big surprise!). The ending was so stupid and I really wish it ended before that over the top ridiculousness. Loved this movie and I think it's even better than and perhaps even more disturbing than the original. I haven't been so disturbed by an American horror flick in a loooong loooong time and for that I am grateful!

Te* said...

Have yet to see this one, but I think I know what type of ending you're speaking of. Some people like those type of endings, but mostly they get on my nerves, so I'll try to remember that if I decide to go see it. Nice review!

thebonebreaker said...


I'll be reading your review momentarily ;-)

I too had been aware of the "horrible kill idea" due to the trailer - As the movie flowed along and seemed to end, I was THANKFUL that the filmmakers used their better judgment and decided not to use that scene - alas, I was horribly wrong!

I think that made me hate it even more, because I thought it wasn't going to be included, and then it was, at the most in-opportune time!


thebonebreaker said...

Coffee, yes indeed! :-)


Glad to hear that you agree.
For the most part, I still feel that the original is more disturbing, however I will say that the opening of this film is definitely one of the most disturbing sequences out there - it immediately set the bar for how sadistic Krug really is!

Thanks Te! ;-)


iMike said...

Great review, I'll have to check this out... I thought the original was okay so, my expectations on this one are ground level.

thebonebreaker said...

I think that you will like it Mike, though heed my advice and leave when the boat heads out onto the lake ;-)


jenn said...

Get up and leave when they get in the boat and you'll be a LOT happier :-)

thebonebreaker said...


You said it! ;-)


Michael Ross Allen said...

Good review, I tend to stay away from these remakes, but I will check this one out on dvd, minus one minute.

thebonebreaker said...

You will be glad that you did Mike ;-)


Anonymous said...

another great review Jason. I'm waiting for the DVD on this one because i"m cheap like that. Have to see what happens in this ending now.

From the reviiew and some of the comments here it sounds awful and mysterious.

thebonebreaker said...


Thank you.

I know that you are curious as to the ending of the film, but TRUST ME - it will seriously dampen the power of the film, if you watch it - you are better off not knowing!


Bearded Weirdo Reviews said...

I finally got around to seeing this last night. I didn't really expect to like it. I just wanted to see it out of curiosity. Sure enough, I hated it. I agree with your criticisms, but as for the film's good points... I really have to say that I think there were almost none, and the few, very few, it did have were, in my opinion, fleeting. At best. I actually liked the Friday The 13th remake better, and since you were on the receiving end of THAT rant already, I think you know how much that says 'bout my feelings towards Last House.
I found it particularly painful considering Last House is a personal favorite of mine.
Seriously, I could go on all day about the things that I think were wrong with this blasphemy, but I think I'll spare you my ranting this time.

Seriously though? A fuckin' microwave? That's RETARDED!!!

Now the OTHER movie I saw yesterday, ...was much, much better. I'm talking 'bout Monsters Vs. Aliens here, boyo, and it kicked ass. I definitely recommend it for the kid inside you.

thebonebreaker said...


For me, the best part of The Last House on the Left is still the very beginning - to me, that was the most powerful part of the film. . .

So glad to hear that Monsters vs. Aliens rocks! [I am taking my daughter to see that one tomorrow - in 3-D - and I am looking very forward to it! :-)