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The Last House on the Left (2009) 

Directed by Dennis Iliadis Screenplay by Adam Alleca & Carl Ellsworth

  The film starts out with two policeman transporting Krug (Garret Dillahunt) to an undisclosed location. Waiting for a train to pass they’re sideswiped by a truck as the people inside exit to ensure the police died. While getting him out the back. Sadie (Riki Lindhome) and Francis (Aaron Paul) watch their leader finish off the other officer as we are taken to Mari (Sara Paxton) in the middle of practicing her swimming. Going on a vacation with mother Emma (Monica Potter) and father John, (Tony Goldwyn) they venture out to their vacation home near the lake. Once settling in Mari asks her parents if she could meet up with friend Paige (Martha MacIsaac; Superbad) of which her dad easily agrees to, even handing her some money. Once in town and meeting up with her friend, they briefly discuss an incident that occurred recently (her family had just lost their brother/son) gently leading to another topic. Their attention fetches out at Justin (Spencer Treat Clark) who asks for some cigarettes in exchange for some “premium weed” as they take him back to his motel in order to make the exchange.

  Is anyone ever surprised when something bad happens after going off with strangers? After taking a little too long in the motel Mari follows in after Paige to see what the hold up was to find them relaxing on the bed, smoking. Telling her mother who had just called that she would be back in the morning. Letting go of her inhibitions to get to know their new found friend, sharing a brief moment, each reflecting on their loss’ of brother and his mother. While finding a way to change the subject and have fun with Justin, they are soon interrupted by his family walking in; father Krug, step-mom Sadie (Riki Lindhome) and uncle Francis (Aaron Paul). Learning quickly of what is going on. The family was on the run after teh newspapers had releashed their information. Trying to explain that they wouldn’t tell anybody (because that always works) Krug replies being “sorry” but far too late and no chances could be taken at that point. Taking the girls out to the middle of the forest, as given directions by Mari. Starting up the cigarette lighter with her foot and the opportunity arising, using it against Sadie as they slid down the hills being each equally injured as Paige tried to make a run for it.

  After hiding and trying to divert Sadie and Francis, her once possible dream of escaping is tarnished as Sadie catches up. As Mari sees them approaching with her friend’s shirt off, any hope for is demolished by the crazed family’s next actions. Paige tries to speak up for her friend, receiving a stabbing for thinking she was brave. Dying in Mari’s arms, Krug soon starts tearing at her bra when it seems his son has refused to be a “man,” doing the deed for him. Raping this poor girl who hadn’t even been through the worst of it. *The scene took about 17 hours to film of which not only can I not imagine but is truly gut-wrenching and far superior of its original.* Gathering what little strength she had, escaping and heading for the lake. Rain looming as Krug takes one final shot at Mari before taking off to find somewhere to hide.

  The Collingwood’s soon receive some guests (guess who?) who claim to have been in an accident and in need of assistance. And since John happened to be a Doctor, fixed Francis’ nose stitches it up when the power cut out. Starting up the generators the two get them settled in as Justin leaves a “gift” for the mother. As John locks the front door, he begins hearing a slamming of some kind coming from the back porch. Carefully investigating they find their daughter barely there and using the last of her energy to rock the chair against the wall. Emma running to get towels as John stopped the bleeding and found her daughter’s necklace wrapped around a coffee mug. Cutting into his daughter to help her breath and letting his wife know of her innocence as well having been taken; they quickly devise a plan to make the 6 mile trip out by land in need of getting her to a hospital as quickly as could.

  Searching for the boat keys, it seems Francis is unable to sleep as Emma persuades him in having a drink with her. While John retrieved tools from the garage. She has him go towards the living room as he faces his victim but before turning around is met with a wine bottle to the face. Running to the kitchen for a knife which he gladly walks into it (nice of him to do the work for her). John comes through with the assist, grabbing Francis and breaking his nose once again. They engage in some wrestling as it ends with them drowning him in the kitchen sink, finishing him with a hammer to the head. Making their way to the guest house and finding find sitting inches away from his “parents” bed deciding not to be the bad guy in this situation. Though when John cock’s the gun, the couple wakes and he fires it hitting Sadie’s neck. Krug jumps out the window to escape to the main house. Finalizing the woman’s death they head back to look for Krug as mother and daughter hide out in the boat house awaiting John’s return. A battle inside the house between the two male leads follows as help from Justin soon ends our story with John able to ensure revenge shortly after by taking care of the last member with nothing more than a blade and a microwave.

Final Thoughts: This was without a doubt a fine example of where a remake is capable of surpassing it’s predecessor. The original was a landmark film for what it had been willing to show though. This one simply perfected what it’s intent had been. Instead of the funky little tunes they did for the original, the score was much better at building the tension as rightfully should. The family was a bit more ruthless (Though I thought a lot of that was streamed from the entire feel of the movie being different). I liked that Sadie wore overalls and that in the end the family received some sort of help. In the original they had time to put out their “traps” and wait for them to fall into them. But by forcing the situation to them and them being caught off guard they were given more credit by being able to “think on their feet” and creativity. The dynamic between the father and son and how if given the chance made clear of what Justin would do. The last scene being the best in my opinion. If anyone needed some payback it was definitely this guy and I liked how the waves of the lake blended in with the cuts and how your mind was blown at his punishment, pun rightfully intended.

  The unrated edition is a WHOPPING 4 minutes longer (which is usually the terrible case) so try not to count on that too much. Paxton, of which I didn’t particularly like in The Innkeepers, broke your heart at watching her endure the pain. Even having seen it a couple of times before, I always route for her to keep going; such a strong role to have to play and she did it with a certain finesse about her. Her subtlety and innocence making for a perfect candidate for the role. Potter was a good choice but because I see her more as the maternal type. Goldwyn played a great lead role and we got to see him beat up the bad guy instead of being one. The movie did however favor the Collingwood’s as we received very minimal amount of background on our family of killers. Though it never felt needed because of the aura they so well put forth. I do think it greatly helped that Craven was attached to the project again, however either way have found yet another remake to be proud of occurring within my generation. Whoo-hoo.