Saturday, March 28, 2009

REVIEW: Last House On The Left...

I love horror films. There may not be a more interesting or entertaining genre of film. Sure, film noir is my favorite genre, but horror, there is just something about good, frightening horror films that I dig. However, modern horror sucks. From Saw to Hostel, we've exchanged horror for porn.

Porn, as defined by Websters: the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction

This, unfortunately, is where Last House On The Left falls.

After kidnapping and brutally assaulting two young women, a gang led by a prison escapee unknowingly finds refuge at a vacation home belonging the parents of one of the victims -- a mother and father who devise an increasingly gruesome series of revenge tactics. That's about as deep as this shallow, gorno film goes.

The biggest difference between solid, truly frightening horror, and what we have today, is the lack of purpose. In Last House, there are some of the most grotesque and truly disturbing depictions of violence, that it's truly one of the most intense and emotionally destroying films I've seen in a long time. However, it's handled really poorly. There is a moment, during a soon to be infamous scene, where the camera goes off of the action, by pulling back away from the heinous act. However, Dennis Iliadis, a rookie director, doesn't know when to cut, so he goes right back into the middle of the act.

Normally, I'm not one to say that something isn't worth seeing due to a disturbing scene or scenes, but this film is one that forces me to come out on that end. The end of this film, while it is fun and entertaining, lacks any emotional depth, that it's just there to get a rise out of the viewer. Sure, that's what horror does, but instead of messing with us psychologically like a film such as Funny Games does, this one just delves in the depths of films like the aforementioned Saw. The torture is there, but without any real purpose.

Yes, there are a couple of positives, mainly from the mother and father. Not only do they give some reality and depth to what could be simple, cardboard characters, but their decent into madness is really stunning. When the couple takes their first life, a simple shot of the fathers face as the deed is happening is really shocking. You see him go from simply protecting his daughter, to wanting this man to die, all simply from a look on the face. The mother is equally as good.

That, however, is where the positives stop. The film is cliche visually, the score, while subdued, is standard, and there is no reason for this film to exist. The original film from '72 was so heavily influential on today's films, particularly those from Alexandre Aja, like High Tension (a vastly superior film that treads similar ground), yet to have that as your base, makes this remake all the more disappointing. Go rent the original. Never see this film.


Sorry for the short review, but really, I don't want to talk about it anymore. Just skip this film.

Go see something good...

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