Last House on the um…not this side, but the other…like, if you’re facing this way, then I guess it’d be on this side, but it really depends on which way you’re going. Sorry, I’m terrible at directions. So where are you coming from again? by Prince TJ Burgers
May 13th, 2009 by maryburgers

A Review of Last House on the Left (2009)

By T J Burgers

As a fan of the original Last House, sick directed by Wes Craven, I felt that it was somehow my duty to seek out and watch this undoubtedly horrible remake. Wait, let me back up for a second. Maybe I shouldn’t have referred to myself as a “fan” of the original. I mean, that was a pretty fucked up movie guys. A “fan” implies a certain level of enjoyment that I’m not entirely comfortable with people knowing that I experienced while watching what amounted to constant emotional and physical brutality set to the tune of utterly inappropriate banjo ditties. So let’s try this again.

As a person who watched of the original Last House, directed by Wes Craven, I felt that it was my duty to seek out and watch this undoubtedly horrible remake, in much the same way a witness of a horrible crime may feel it is their duty to try and pick a guy out of a lineup. I have to admit my hopes weren’t very high for this one. Typical horror remakes gloss over the grit that made the originals special, and I assumed that this was going to be no different. But I was wrong (kinda, I mean, the movie overall is still pretty bad).

The basic story, ~SPOILER ALERT~ in both versions of the film, is that two young, innocent girls do OMGARIJUANA and as a result are both beaten, raped, and murdered by surprisingly vicious strangers. And that’s only the first half. The rest of the movie details how, coincidentally, our plucky team of murderous, insane adventurers end up staying with the parents of one of the newly deceased, with each party none the wiser, and then the inevitable hijinks that occur when the truth is revealed (a situation that should be all-too-familiar to readers who have experienced the joys of having roommates MIRITE).

The original wasn’t frequently violent, but when violence occurred it was extreme to the point that even the most rotten.com-hardened internet nerds would at least squirm uncomfortably while watching it. This is the aspect that I felt the remake would fall flattest in, but it’s perhaps the one aspect that it actually gets basically right. During the rape scene I almost jumped up from my seat and pumped a triumphant fist in the air, but then I thought for a moment and realized how inappropriate a reaction that would’ve been, and then felt a non-insignificant amount of shame for the rest of the film. I later sent myself to bed without dessert.

The problem, however, is that the new film almost glorifies or romanticizes the violence. The original film feels very bizarre, because the violence is generally framed in such a way that makes you feel like an actual observer. Not to mention in the end, after the final throes of gore, the remaining characters are left with a sound sense of “wtf”. But a gray-area approach to violence isn’t cool enough for 2009. There were at least two scenes where rent flesh was shown in extreme closeup just for shits and giggles, and every scene is played for some kneejerk emotional reaction (YAY-you-go-girl if it’s the vengeful parents, YAY-but-shame-on-you if it is the villains), and the ending dispenses with the “question” of the original, instead replacing it with a stupid ending-after-the-ending head-in-the-microwave take-that-you-bad-man bit of pointlessness.

In general, the remake pretty much sacrifices all of the emotional content of the original. The one “good” member of the murderin’ fam is even “gooder”, and is no longer held in thrall by drug addiction (though he should calm down on the wacky tabacky), no one who is good dies (the friend girl doesn’t count because she is a pothead who tempted the heroine into depravity, and thus deserves a sound fatal stabbing), and the only emotional lesson conveyed to the audience after the credits rolled is “dayum dey shure kilt dem sum bad guys right gud”.

Final Rating, 1 out of 5 burgers. It gets one for being accurate in a violent sense, but minus four for not having banjo ditties. I don’t actually give a shit about the other shit or whatever.

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