The Last House on the Left

A Powerful Gore Fest, 16 June 2009

Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The horror genre lives in a bubble of its own, and so needs to be judged as such, and this ticks the genre boxes pretty well. Convincingly acted, and well plotted, Director Dennis Lliadis delivers a pacey, beautifully photographed film that understands its audience, even teasing it a little.It skilfully borrows form Road Movie, Revenge and Horror and Gore raw materials to produce a satisfying end result.

The first half unfolds in Road Movie mode, the bad guys appear, literally quite spectacularly, then our heroic heroine is introduced to meet her inevitable nemesis.Lascivious, lingering shots of her legs and torso leave little doubt that bad things are going to happen to her.This part,Mari, well played by Sara Paxton,is notable for eschewing girly screams for grim determination , and is all the better for it.When Mari and her friend Paige foolishly choose to smoke some dope at a run down motel, the result is kidnap rape and torture.The controversial rape sequence is much less graphic than is trailed ( what a surprise). I found the fate of her friend,Paige, far more disturbing.

The second half is Revenge, and Horror and Gore, time when the assailants inadvertently hole up at Mari’s parents house ! When they discover whom they are entertaining the blood letting starts.The morality of what you could, or should, do in such circumstances is touched upon, but not for very long, it is time for cold steel to meet deserving flesh.It is the revenge element which gives the second half its impetus as the audience celebrates the worthy demise of each bad guy.

The presence of a woman in the fugitive gang is a neat device.Once our original victims have flashed their bosoms it gives an opportunity for her to do so too. Indeed the only woman not to have her breasts on display is Mari’s mother – which would have been a horror too far for any self respecting teenage horror fan surely? The ending is a tease. Surely one of the bad guys will chance upon the boathouse? Who could possibly spring out of the water in the final boat scene? Instead, the final “surprise” is short, gratuitous, and wasted. The strength of this story is to combine the revenge themes explored in the likes of “Death Wish” and “The Brave One” with a conventional gore fest, which at least offers some purpose to the bloodbath,showing author Wes Craven at his best.

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