Review: The Last House on the Left (2009)

last house on the leftHow many horror films are going to be subjected to an awful remake? Of course, there is still the original to watch, but that’s not the point. Now, as a rule, I’m against remakes, unless I wants to watch a terrible film. There’s only so much quality the mind can absorb before it needs a Tank Girl, or even a Star Wars prequel. Sometimes your mind needs some trash to relax! And with ‘ The Last House on the Left’ remake, I received what I asked for: a truly dire film. Now, the original is not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a ‘classic’ horror film. It’s rough and ready, cheap and very nasty; it’s film-making on the hoof. There’s obviously a low budget, which accounts for the poor actors/actresses and such forth, but that’s also the key to its ‘classic-ness’.

Of course, I could use Plato’s theory that an imitation will always be inferior because it’s a copy of a copy. However, I’m not a big fan of the wrestler so will diagnose problems with remakes that are more grounded in reality. Remakes of ‘classic’ horror films have two problems; the first is that they are usually directed by a man/woman known for remakes. They lack any philosophy to guide them, unlike, say Craven or Cronenberg, who were driven by conscious (and unconscious) desires. It’s just another money-maker for these directors. Second, and more important, is that they have too much money. They are over-stylised and over-produced, and they lose the roughness that made the original a ‘classic’. The films often look like an episode of Entourage with a tinge of dark green covering the screen.

How can you top a classic like ‘Last House’? How can you capture the controversy, the ‘video nasty’ ability of a film like that? It’s very hard in a day and age where people are used to gallons of blood, horrific death and rape scenes. You can rely on the Daily Mail to find some film or other reprehensible, but they are few and far between. This fact leads remakes to make the gore is more obvious and the murder scenes more elaborate and detailed. This has precisely the opposite effect that the director wants: it detracts from the shock value. Yes, it makes one cringe and may induce a little retching, but it has no long term value or resonance. Decapitations, intestines, and buckets of blood all blur into a meaningless mess.last house

Specifically in relation to the remake of ‘Last House’, there was no scene that evoked the bile and disgust of anything in the original.. The rape scene in the remake is nothing compared to the same scene in the original. There’s a tendency in remakes is to go deeper into the back story of the villain/main characters, and this reduces their substance. In the remake of ‘Last House’, the main villains lose their menace because they are denuded in this fashion. What was truly sickening about them in the original was their ‘insanity’, or craziness. They seem to lose this vitality in the remake, thanks to the back story. A back story often evokes/tries to evoke sympathy in a character; these characters did not need sympathy. By trying to make the story logical (the psychos, the parent’s revenge methods), they paradoxically make it more illogical.

The Last House on The Left’ remake is devoid of any creativity or controversy. It merely replicates what has gone before, without an ounce of talent or ingenuity. It’s filmmaking at its laziest, and proves that a copy of a copy will be inferior if there’s no other reason that profit behind the creation of the copy.

VERDICT: 1/10. Another dire horror remake, with no redeeming qualities at all. Watch the original!

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