Monday, August 31, 2009

Last House on my street

The Last House on the Left (2009)

Director: Dennis Iliadis

Writers: Adam Alleca and Carl Ellsworth

Starring: Garret Dillahunt, Riki Lindhome, Sara Paxton, Monica Potter and Tony Goldwyn

"Do you want to hear what I did to Mari? I bet you do. Pervert. You want to hear how tight your little homecoming queen was?"
"No. I want to hear you beg for your fucking life."

Now days remakes are the bread and butter of the horror genre it seems. There's been good ones like Dawn of The Dead, The Hills Have Eyes, Black X-mas (Hey, I liked it.) and The Grudge . Mediocre ones such as The Amityville Horror, House of Wax, My Bloody Valentine, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And poop like Prom Night, Day of the Dead, Halloween and April Fool's Day. So were does Last House fall into?

Well the story is pretty much the same as the Craven original. Krug (Dillahunt) and his gang torture and rape good girl Mari (Sarah Paxton) and her party-girl pal Paige (Martha MacIsaac) in the middle of the woods. After the gang take refuge from a storm at a nearby house that happens to be Mari's house. Over the course of the night Mari's parents find out what happened and their a bit pissed, to say the least.

So is it any good? Yes. While I'm a big fan of Craven's Last House, which it's self is a remake of The Virgin Spring. There a few things that are a bit much. Those songs that goofy as hell. The comedy cops and the gang's antics at their pad. Thankfully those are all gone in the remake. This streamlines the story a bit and the horrible goings on are much more so when it doesn't cut to two goofy cops bumbling down the road. Those cops were the equivalent of if they cut to Benny Hill with Yakety Sax playing in Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

This Last House doesn't have as gritty a feel as Craven's and less of the rape and humiliation that was in the original. But there's just enough to make you feel uncomfortable and want these guys to get what's coming to them. Unlike some of the other recent remakes the filmmakers don't insult the original or give Krug a sad white trash back story. They change just enough of the story to make it it's stand on it's own and keep the viewer intrigued.

Across the board everything is polished. The cinematography is breathtaking. There's some beautiful shots. The director handles the third act confrontation with gusto. Creating plenty of suspense. All the actors handle their roles well and there's not a stinker in the bunch. Is it to much polish? Just a little. Once and awhile it distracted from the disturbing goings on. But its not an uber-stylish shaky camera sort of horror film (Zombie's Halloween, I'm looking at you.). Thank goodness.

What was refreshing was that it knows it's a down and dirty revenge film and makes no bones about it. It gives you the brutal payback in a most unglamorous way. The deaths in the film aren't pretty. Krug and his gang get what's coming to them. Cathartic for sure, you'll feel cleansed after seeing the vengeance play out.

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