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3.8 out of 5 stars
The Last House on the Left (Unrated & Theatrical Versions)
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2010
Format: DVD
Spoilers abound, so please stop reading if you haven't seen this remake or the original. I bought this DVD for $2.99 at a Blockbuster that was closing, and made a point of watching the original immediately afterward, since I hadn't seen it in about 5 years.

This is a remake to one of the most notorious horror films of the `70s. Notorious because of the various prints that floated around (some showed more than others), notorious because of the sexual degradation and violence in an R rated movie (originally meant to be an adult film, they decided to go with an R rating to make more money on the drive-in circuit). And notorious for its frequent tonal shifts - black comedy/sadistic violence/slapstick comedy/sexual humiliation.

This remake takes the safe route, and all but sanitizes the sexual humiliation scenes and the brutality of the murders. Yes, what remains will shock to a degree, but not to the degree of the original.

Here are some changes (mostly politically correct crap that has overtaken contemporary horror films):

'72: Krug's son lures the girls to the lair so Krug and company can "have some fun", and in perhaps the most disturbing scene in the film, Krug's son briefly retaliates by pointing the gun at him, but Krug has so much control over him (by hooking him on heroin), he tells him to kill himself, and he obliges.

'09: Krug's son is a stereotypic pothead/victim who innocently invites the girls back to smoke, thinking Krug won't come back until later, and actively helps out the family towards the end.

'72: the girls are typical teenagers of the time who smoke.

'09: Mari's friend smokes, Mari evidently does not (coughing when she takes a hit), and this relegates the film to the current morality tale of pot smoking=death; see "Chainsaw" `03 when Biel expresses disgust over their trip to get pot, then flicks a joint out of the window when offered one, and "Friday the 13th" `09 that has pothead dolts getting killed by Jason.

'72: Mari is shot, manages to crawl out of the lake, and is found dead. Realistic and devastating.

'09: Mari is shot, and manages to swim, then crawl out of the lake and to the house in a rainstorm that is described as so bad, even a tow truck won't come out - politically correct nonsense to the extreme. And I'm sorry, but foreshadowing this by showing her holding her breath under water at the beginning doesn't cut it.

`72: The killers are depicted as "animal-like" (Sadie), killers of a priest and two nuns (Krug), and sadistic child molestors (Weasel).

'09: Sadie has a mascara tear fall from her eye when Mari is shot, and Weasel is neutered by being renamed "Francis" and cries like a baby when his broken nose is fixed. Contrast his crybaby behavior with Mari's stoic silence when her father stabs her in the back twice to treat her. And Krug is just another typical killer/rapist that could have been in any crime-themed TV show or movie.

'72: The family is sympathetic in their revenge for their dead daughter.

`09: The family is initially sympathetic in their revenge for their *still living* daughter, but sympathy turns to incredulity during the final scene that shows the father becoming Dr. Butcher M.D. when he kills Krug in a set piece taken directly from an obscure slasher film called "Evil Laugh". This scene could have worked if it was a nightmare scene (like the chisel nightmare from "Last House" '72) but it does not work in the context of a real scenario, but instead lowers it to the level of a stupid `80s slasher film, like one called "Evil Laugh".

A technically well-made/well-acted film, but not a good remake.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Last House on the Left, the 2009 remake of Wes Craven's 1972 debut film, is by and far a pretty pointless remake. Garret Dillahunt stars as Krug, an escaped criminal who along with his sadist girlfriend (Riki Lindhome), brother (Aaron Paul), and son (Spencer Treat Clark) in tow. It isn't long before they come across young Mari (Sara Paxton) and Paige (Martha MacIsaac), whom they proceed to graphically assault and terrorize, and culminate in finding sanctuary with a couple (Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter), who unbeknownst to them are Mari's parents. The Last House on the Left remake pretty much follows the original to a tee, up until its final few acts, where sadism and shock values become the order of the day. While Craven's original still remains a bona-fide shocker to this day, the raw feel of the film helped make it so memorable. Here, everything is so polished that it just doesn't have the same effect, no matter how graphic and long one can make a rape scene seem, which by and far, is nearly impossible to watch. The film's flaws are a shame, considering that the cast does surprisingly good work here, but in the end, the film just leaves the effect of being "been there, done that" more than anything else. The film is worth a look for fans of the original, as well as those looking for new ways to use their microwave.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2009
Format: DVD
I really thought this was going to be something amazing based on the trailer. I wasn't a big fan of the original, but this looked interesting. I like a lot of the new remakes that have bee coming out.

This is a well made film. And I appreciate that a lot of the original cheese was removed. The rape scene was appalling and unless I just supressed the memory of the first film, it's much worse. Given the horror of what Mary endures, I didn't feel like the kill/revenge scenes were as satisfying as the original. I felt the parents often bumbled around and made a lot of cliché horror movie mistakes. It's definitely an intense movie that keeps you on the edge of the seat, but I also heard myself screamng "OH COME ON!" an awful lot.

If anyone is interested, the Italian film, Night Train Murders (1975) was a much better rip-off of Last House on the Left.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2011
Format: DVD
This is a remake of the classic from 1972 by director Wes Craven. A starring cast that includes Tony Goldwin, Monica Potter, Sarah Paxton, Garret Dillahunt , Spencer Trent Clark and Aaron Paul. This movie has what appears to be, the makings of a good flick. However, let me warn you. I will not say this movie is bad, but I will say that I enjoyed very few parts of the movie. Not enough to call it good! The original storyline is a great concept but somehow this movie fell short for me. I caught myself laughing at the utter absurdity of the characters' reasoning, or lack thereof, and some of the death scenes were over the top! I warn you now, if you watch the unrated version of this movie be prepared for a brutal rape scene! All in all, it wasn't terrible, and somehow Wes Craven did what he does best...make me watch the whole movie. I am torn as to whether I liked this movie better on the shelf or in my DVD player, but I am not torn as to whether or not I will watch another Wes Craven flick. Considering the fact that Mr. Craven is the same man who made us afraid to go to sleep with 'A Nightmare on Elm Street', he will always be one of the great directors. Just my opinion. If there is nothing else available to watch on DVD, give this movie a try, however, don't say I didn't warn you!
WebbWeaver Reviews
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
The first one is so better. Every aspect is better. The actors, Characters, Plotline. Everything. Let's talk about the convicts first. The origanal gives info about what their crimes were and stuff like that. I actually like the criminals in the first one. I love Jr because he really is just manipulatied by his dad. They make them funny and actually like talk to each other. The part in the hotel where there all hanging out really makes the movie good. They show them bring the girls out the fire escape and put them in the trunk and they don't have them escape so much. Jr compared to Justin, Krugs son in the origanal was a problem for me. He didnt fit the role. Jr in the origanal was a shy drug addicted loser and Justin didn't fit that. Now plot, the plot was the worst thing everything in the origanal was realistic and made sense. In the new one Justin brings them over to his house to do drugs but why?? would he do that if he was living with convicts. He just can't smoke pot by himself? Then they kidnap them because they think they'll tell, but what exactly? They didnt know they were convicts. Then they get in an accident. That wasnt even needed? Then the Paige, the new phyliss, excapes? She barely get's any time then after they catch her they start stripping mari and then they kill Paige because she talked back. The killing sequence for paige isnt even as gory as the original. And you dont care when she dies. I'll admit the rape scene in this one is way worse but it's so bad because it over compensates for the lake of anything else happening. The thing I had a problem with it how Mari survives and they still kill all of them. Why? Just because she got raped by the 1 one guy. Skip this one the original is gorier, has better actors, plot, kills sequences, and more nudity. See the original don't waste your time on the new on like I did.
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on January 3, 2015
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
The rape and murder scenes are terrible to watch. They are almost too well done.
I like Wes Craven but this turned my stomach more the the seventies version of this film.
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Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Was mildly interesting until the hideously graphic rape scene 30 - 40 minutes in. I'm no prude but it felt way over the top. Turned it off and never came back for the rest.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Last House on the Left (Dennis Iliadis, 2009)

Among hardcore horror fans, I seem to be one of the very few who considers Wes Craven's debut film, The Last House on the Left, to be one of his worst. (Thankfully, I saw The Hills Have Eyes, one of my favorite movies, before that, and was already an established fan when I saw Last House.) When I heard a remake was being done, I figured it would probably be better than the original, and when every criticism levelled at the movie by the Ben show (aka At the Movies) could have equally been levelled at the original movie, I did have some small hope that the remake might actually be worth watching. It was, as I expected, better than the original, but it wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be.

If you've seen the original, the plot will be familiar, though it's got some variations. Two lovely young things, Mary (Superhero Movie's Sara Paxton) and Paige (Superbad's Martha MacIsaac), find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, and one ends up dead, the other raped. The bad guys end up at Mary's house, where her parents have a perfect opportunity to exact revenge.

The big thing about this one that makes it better than the original is that we actually get a bit of character development, and it's quite well-paced (when was the last time you saw a major, big-budget American horror film with a running time of almost two hours that didn't make you say "this could be half an hour shorter"?). The big change that didn't work for me, on the other hand, was the general make-up of the parents. One of the things I actually kind of liked about the original was the absolute cheesiness of the parents, who were straight out of the American Gothic painting--old, kind of infirm, but entirely without scruple when it came to torturing and killing the bad guys. The cognitive disjunction there was fascinating; here's an old geezer with the blandest of smiles wielding a chainsaw in order to hack up a dead body. Awesome! In this one, we get young-and-beautifuls as the parents of young-and-beautifuls; we're supposed to believe, somehow, that Monica Potter gave birth to Sara Paxton? I mean, come on, Monica Potter was barely old enough to have given birth to the not-quite-toddler in Saw, and that was only five years before this. Also, the new screenplay, scripted by Adam Alleca and Carl Ellsworth (this is Alleca's first writing credit; Ellsworth's most recent film is Disturbia), gives the parents, especially Potter, much more in the way of moral quandary about killing the bad guys off in inventive ways. It's an interesting reversal of form from the Hills Have Eyes remake, where the moral quandary was taken away. I'm amused.

All in all it's not a terrible little film as long as you can get past the idea (as the Bens obviously couldn't), integral to both the original and the remake, that this movie exists for the sole purpose of allowing the parents to exact brutal, bloody revenge on the bad guys--which also involves making the bad guys bad enough for us to sympathize with, if not cheer for, the parents. It's not deathless cinema, and I'll be amazed if it finds its way into too many permanent collections, but it's worth watching once. Kinda. ** ½
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 11, 2009
Format: DVD
While the 70s original was brutal and cruel it had some clever psychology, horror and conflicts. But this version sheds anything interesting in favor of more brutality including an on-camera rape, bloody fist fights and beatings.

The final half of the movie has nothing clever, just unending fist fights between the parents and the criminals.

Give it a miss.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2009
Format: DVD
This is like a severely watered down version of the original and it is far less shocking. The original was so scary and so real and so sick that I think if I ever saw one of the actors in it I would run as though a member of the Manson family showed up. It was that bad. Almost like watching Faces of Death or something. Really creepy and just evil. I wouldn't watch it again alone or in the wrong frame of mind. This remake barely evokes anything close to that. And I find it funny that in 2009 the filmmakers didn't dare have the mother take a bite out of crime so to speak like in the original. Those of you giving this a glowing review in comparison to the Wes Craven version are delusional if not connected to the production or something.
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