The Last House on the Left (2009) starring Tony Goldwyn, Monica Potter, Sara Paxton, Garret Dillahunt, Riki Lindhome, Aaron Paul, Spencer Treat Clark, Martha MacIsaac directed by Dennis Iliadis Movie Review

The Last House on the Left (2009)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Sara Paxton in The Last House on the Left (2009)

The Last One Left

John (Tony Goldwyn) and Emma Collingwood (Monica Potter), along with their seventeen year old daughter Mari (Sara Paxton), are taking a break at their summer home. On the first night there Mari heads in to town where her friend Paige (Martha MacIsaac) works and they are soon hanging out with Justin (Spencer Treat Clark) who has some pot back at his motel room. But Justin is the son of Krug (Garret Dillahunt), a recently escaped convict who shows up with his girlfriend Sadie (Riki Lindome) and Justin's uncle Frank (Aaron Paul). Who proceed to kidnap the girls only then after a car crash killing one and raping and serious injuring Mari, leaving her for dead. It is then that Krug, Sadie, Frank and Justin show up at the Collingwood's home unaware they are the parents of Mari whilst the parents unaware what their guests have done.

So let's get the boring bit out of the way and yes "The Last House on the Left" is a remake of the 1972 movie of the same name which in turn was a remake of the 1960 movie "The Virgin Spring". It is a fact which will be of interest to movie aficionados but doesn't really matter when it comes down to whether this latest version works. And that is the million dollar question as I am not entirely sure whether "The Last House on the Left" works as whilst it features an interesting scenario during the middle section of the movie what comes before and afterwards feels very different.

Garret Dillahunt in The Last House on the Left (2009)

So what comes before comes under the term gratuitous as we start off with a high impact car crash and not long after what feels like pure titillation as we see Mari in her underwear as she gets dressed after a shower. But that is not the worst of it as we then get a graphic rape scene which might do it for those who dig in their face violence but it feels extreme. It is not just during the first part that we get the violence as in the third part of the movie the violence returns and as graphic as ever. In fairness to director Dennis Iliadis he doesn't hold back and is committed to the movie's graphic nature rather than just trying to tease and suggest when it comes to how visual it is.

But for me the best part of the movie is when we get to the more interesting thriller aspect when we have the killers and Mari's parents in the same house during a storm, yes I forgot to mention there is a storm as well. This is where we have plenty of atmosphere and it becomes a lot more intriguing and psychological. In a way the movie reverts back to type during the final scenes.

Never the less "The Last House on the Left" has some terrific performances and Sara Paxton stands out as she has this timidity during the first third, making her a good girl but not of the annoying sort. On the other hand Aaron Paul as Uncle Frank is scary in a psychotic way which makes the scenes involving him and his frequent outbursts quite scary. The same with Garret Dillahunt who is less psycho but no less frightening in his bullying way of commanding a room.

What this all boils down to is that I like some of "The Last House on the Left" but other parts, the graphic violence side of it didn't do it for me as whilst I didn't find it as upsetting as some did I did find some of coming across as gore for gores sake. Would I watch "The Last House on the Left" again, if I was channel surfing late at night and came across it on TV yes but I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again.