Alan Smithee

MWN Reviews — Last House on the Left

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Now that the summer movie season is starting to pick up and get into the swing of things, regular movie going guys like myself run the risk of getting suckered into watching remakes of movies that we might have enjoyed from the 70s and 80s.

We do this mainly for one of three reasons, we either hope the studio did a better version, liked the trailer and ignored the critics, or wanted to make the significant other happy by going. I happen to fall into the last two-thirds of these excuses.

For some reason, my wife and I have a great time watching bad things happen to people who deserve it and when teenagers get slaughtered. For example, the Saw movies and the new Friday the 13th remake are just a few that we have enjoyed. However, in The Last House on the Left our usual escapism and violent tendencies weren’t quite satiated in the same manner, in fact, this movie overall left a bad taste in both our mouths.

For those of you who don’t know already, The Last House on the Left is a remake of the 1972 Wes Craven directed movie with the same name. After seeing the remake, I believe that the original (for being 37 years old) is the better movie. This will be the last reference to the original 1972 print because I don’t want to get trapped in the “this one is better/worse because” rhetoric.

The movie starts out with the movie’s main villain Krug being busted out of police custody by his crew of social misanthropes Francis and Sadie. After this scene, the movie switches to show our innocent heroine Mari (played by young wannabe starlet Sara Paxton) swimming laps in a pool, only to be interrupted by her mother (played by the always useful Monica Potter) who tells her to get out of the pool so the family’s summer vacation can begin.

It is here that we meet her father the doctor and are treated to some of the most bland exposition that I have ever had the misfortune of being subjected to, we find out Mari’s brother died a year ago, Mari’s lament, her mom becoming overprotective, the fact that Mari likes to swim (which you think would be abundantly clear in the scene with the pool), and that she has a whore of a best friend that she sees only during her family’s excursions to their summer house.

It’s only after we’re introduced to the whorish best friend Paige that the movie even starts to pick up. It’s at this point that I have to scoff at the apparent anti-marijuana message the movie portrays because apparently all of the troubles the girls go through are because Paige wanted to buy a dime bag from Krug’s son Justin (the reluctant pansy, who only grows a sack in the final 2 scenes of the movie only to have it later poked in by his dad).

The bad-guys come back to the hotel room that now has Paige, Mari, and Justin smoking some product. The girls become hostages and continue to harass and attempt to flee the criminals in such fashions as: burning with a car cigarette lighter, a rock to the face, a tree branch to the neck, Paige running and hiding only to trip and sprain her ankle, screaming for help 200 yards away from people that could have saved them, and swimming really fast in a lake (guess who does the swimming?!?) only to be shot in the back.

Oh there’s also a graphic rape scene, but you can’t tell which orifice Krug is violating, much to the chagrin of his girlfriend/groupie Sadie (who’s boobs you get to see for like 2 minutes, but it’s not good naked, it’s bad naked).

Once all of the bad deeds are done, and the crew of criminals are left car-less and soaking in the rain, they retreat to Mari’s parent’s home in the hopes that they can get out of the storm and maybe catch a ride into town. The power goes out, the phones go dead, and young sackless Justin notices that Mari’s picture is on the fridge…DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUN! It’s here that he grows a conscience and decides to tip off the parents by leaving Mari’s easily identifiable necklace on the kitchen counter.

The parents eventually find the necklace and then find Mari slumped on the porch after dragging herself to the back door. The father plays his doctor role, stabilizes her, and then they begin to plot against the crew of nasties.

I could keep going and tell you about all of the retarded decisions the parents make when they finally get the guts to kill their daughter’s assailants, but that’s the only reason that this movie should have been watched in the first place, for the revenge scenes. Only, we the viewers are left with bumbling kills made by people that should be seething with hatred more than they portrayed. All I know is if it were my family, it wouldn’t have been as long of a movie. It’s just disheartening and mildly retarded all throughout the movie.

I can’t suggest to any of you to go out and see this. You might want to rent it one of these days if you’re so inclined to see it, but really I would have preferred to go out and watch Dr. Manhattan blow up some Vietnamese people with his hands of science…even The Comedian had more conviction in shooting a pregnant woman than Mari’s parents did, gah, I’m just pissed that I wasted a perfectly good Friday afternoon watching this movie.

Bottom Line: Avoid this movie as if it were a hot looking lady with a strange bulge in her underwear, you don’t need to find out for yourself.

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