Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Obligatory Last House Review

Just got back from Monster Mania today and immediately rushed out to see Last House on the Left, being that I wasn't able to feast my eyes on it until now. I'm not gonna have the time to post my Mania experience until tommorow, but I figured i'd quick whip up a little post on my Last House thoughts while Jen is deeply engaged in some Playstation Home pool action. Actually, truth be told, she's only doing that because I need to write this and won't be able to focus on doing anything else until I do so. But anyway, as always, if you saw the movie, leave a comment and let me know what ya thought.


Holy shit! I didn't know (post 70's) American horror was capable of being this unnerving! Last House on the Left was always one of the more disturbing pieces of American horror cinema and i'd say it's been done a hell of a lot of justice with this redux. I thought a bigger budget and some known actors would do nothing but hurt the realism and disturbing-ness (?) of the flick, but boy was I wrong. This is a testament to not only the director, Dennis Illiadis, but just as importantly the awesome performances from nearly the entire cast (could've done without that Superbad chick). The film manages to make you feel just about everything it wants you to feel, be it sadness, rage, or utter satisfaction. Last House '09, if you're askin me, is easily the most effective and best American horror movie in the past couple years. Look out you sick French and Japanese fuckers! Us yanks are taking the horror genre back!

But be forewarned, this one is not for the weak of heart .....

I gotta say that now having a woman in my life that I really love and can't stand to see in pain, I can't seem to handle violence against women on the screen anymore. It never really bothered me so much but it's really been turning my stomach lately and I can barely stand to even watch it. I was so disturbed and disgusted during the "attack" scene that I was admittedly choking back tears during the majority of it. Just like the original, it's so realistic and so brutal and painful to watch. In fact, the original did not even make me feel the way I felt today. Jen was especially unnerved, covering her eyes and getting ready to walk out, and I can't say as i've ever seen that reaction from her before. Lest you think she's just a female and thus can't handle violence, she's sat through many a graphic horror flick with me and has never been as visibly upset as she was during this one, so that's saying something. But all that being said, the violence, just like in Irreversible, was totally necessary. We need to see the whole rape go down and see just how horrible it is in order to not only justify the second half but also make that second half as satisfying and I definetly credit Illiadis for not pulling any punches when it came to the rape / murder sequence. Horror is supposed to be disturbing and this version of Last House just about corners the market on disturbing.

I've read about a lot of people walking out of the theatre, but don't take that to mean the movie sucks. Quite the contrary. If anything, it's a testament to just how effective of a movie it is. Some people can't handle it, plain and simple, and I really don't blame them for getting up out of their seats and returning back to the comfort of their homes. If you're not the type who can handle a graphic and realistic rape scene, do not even subject yourself to this movie. Yes, it's only a movie, but a movie can still be pretty fucking powerful and even a bit damaging to one's sensibilities.

As for the revenge portion of the film, it was equally as well done. The parents don't turn into super human killing machines once they find out their daughter has been raped, which I loved as that would've been cheesy and unrealistic, like too many revenge movies are. Watching them go through it together and figuring out how to take the life of another human being is both painful and incredibly empowering to watch. I was literally on the edge of my seat eagerly anticipating the total annihiliation of the bad guys and the sheer satisfaction of seeing them get theirs felt pretty damn good. When they do finally get it, they get it good ..... with one exception that I knew was going to be a problem when I read the script months ago. I really wish they would have changed Krug's death scene as it felt totally out of place in the movie. I'm sure most of you already know what happens to him (and if you don't and wanna know, you can read my review of the script HERE) and it comes off as lame on screen as it does on the page. I understand that they were going for an over the top brutal kill scene for Krug being that you so badly want to see him die, but I think they dropped the ball on this one. In such a realistic movie with realistic violence throughout, it feels like the movie suddenly takes a turn into Dead Alive territory and it definetly hurts the overall feel of the movie.

But that's really the only complaint I have. I thought I was gonna have a problem with Mari living (don't think i'm spoiling anything there), but i'm definetly glad they made that change from the original. The movie is so much more effective and powerful with her living and making it back to her home and having her parents actually see what has been done to her and realize that their daughter has been raped. While I initially felt it was gonna be another cop out American ending of having a victim live, I think it was the better choice here. There needs to be something uplifting in such a bleak and horrifying movie, after all.

Thank you, Mr. Illiadis & Co., for managing to make a film as disturbing if not more disturbing than Wes Craven's original. I really didn't think it could be done and I love to be proven wrong when it comes to the horror genre. Last House is one of the best remakes ever made and you owe it to yourself to check it out. But as I said, it's certaintly not for everyone. Even being a seasoned horror veteran, it was still a little much for my tastes at times. But that is the ultimate goal of a horror film, so the misson was most certaintly accomplished.

Phew. I really think I need to take a couple weeks off from disturbing horror movies. With this and Martyrs in one week, i'm pretty certain i've had just about enough. Time to cuddle up with a nice kiddy flick tonight!


Wings said...

I pretty much agree with all of your review. Except the final scene didn't bother me as much as it has bothered others.

My review is here:

The Last House on the Left

Johnny said...

The final scene just didn't fit is all. In another movie it may have been cool, but not in this one. I will check your review out and leave a comment over there =)

thebonebreaker said...

Another excellent review Johnny!

My main issue with the film was Krug's death as well - I HATED it - not to mention that wouldn't have happened in a mere 30 seconds or whatever it was. . .

Looking forward to reading about your Mania experience :-)

Bjornabo said...

Nice to hear that you enjoyed the movie Johnny. I can`t wait for this movie to be realeased in Norway. (Cinema Release date: 2009.05.22!!!)

Just a 2 month wait time!!!! I can`t see why it takes so incredibly long time to release a movie here in Norway. for-instance Gran Torino premieres in 2 weeks.

If you`re looking for a good "relaxing" movie I whould recommend "WALL-E" or the greatest comedy of all time "Some Like It Hot".

Johnny said...

I saw Wall-E in the theatre and did not like it at all =(

Bar said...

This hasn't even got an Australian release date.

I can only imagine the ratings board is having a tough time with it or something.

But this sucks. I have Craven's uncut original on DVD but i've always thought it was deeply flawed and more or less ripe for a remake. I want this now, goddamnit!

Johnny said...

I don't think anyone can disagree that Craven's original needed a remake. Thankfully what we got was the perfect upgrade of the material!

Isaac said...

i havent seen the original but i plan to do so someday. but there are so many films i want to see...

maybe i am just a sick persone, but the rape scene i didnt find to be so bad as i expected it to be. also the last death scene i enjoyed alot, even though, as it has been said above, it wouldnt happen in about 30 seconds. but i was really dissapointed it seemed the film had ended and the microwave scene hadnt happened yet. it was kind of the reason i watched. that and i VERY highly enjoy seeing eveil people get tortured to death. mostly the second reason i guess.

anyway was the original not good or something??

Johnny said...

I love the original. It is kinda dated but you have to watch it with the thought in mind that it was made in the 70's and how crazy it must've been to see back then. Definetly check it out, especially if you enjoyed the remake.

Bar said...

I Finally got to see this last night. We never got a theatrical release here in Australia, and the dvd didn't come out till yesterday.

This movie, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a bingo.

I'm extremely good at separating fiction from reality, so the rape scene honestly didn't bother me too much. I just saw it as proper justification for the violence I knew would be coming in the third act. We know that Krug and Co. are going to be laid to waste, and this scene is necessary in order to remind us that even though the Collingwoods use deadly violent force, the bad guys are still lower, dirtier bastards, and they deserve their punishment.

I agree the very last scene is out of place, but I've known about it since before the film was even released in the states, so I had plenty of time to prepare myself and it didn't ruin my experience. In fact, I was happy to know in advance that at least Krug was gonna get it a little harder, since that fire extinguisher to the head was not nearly satisfying enough a repercussion for what he'd done.

I can't believe the intensity that Illiadis injected into this. Even having removed some of the more extreme aspects of the sexual abuse from the original, (the pissing and what-not) this just felt waaaaaay dirtier and tougher. I get the feeling Illiadis is not the sort of director who'll want to only make horror movie (I don't know why I get that feeling) but god I hope he still makes a few more. The man has definitely got a handle on how to make us squirm. Better yet, he understands that a film of such intense bleak torture really needs to pay off in violent cathartic revenge... *cough* martyrs I'm looking at you! *cough*. Ahem. But that's a discussion for another day.

I think that maybe, just maybe, this tops the hills have eyes remake for me, but it's too early to call. I'm still high on first viewing goodness. We'll wait and see.