FILM REVIEW: Last House on the Left - Cert 18

Last House on the Left – Cert 18 Starring Michael Bowen, Riki Lindhome and Monica Potter and directed by Dennis Iliadis. Thoughts Before I M not sure what s up with two big horror movies (this and Drag Me To Hell) being released within a week of each

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Last House on the Left - Cert 18

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Starring Michael Bowen, Riki Lindhome and Monica Potter and directed by Dennis Iliadis.

Thoughts Before

I'M not sure what's up with two big horror movies (this and Drag Me To Hell) being released within a week of each other, in the midst of summer blockbusters and nowhere near Halloween.

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Well, this is indeed the second in as many weeks, randomly, and it's got a relatively unknown cast and a director whose only previous directorial attempt was the unknown, 2004 flick Hardcore.

It is of course a remake - potential for a lazy cash cow or a genuinely good re-imagining - of the 1974 torture-filled classic by renowned horror guru Wes Craven.

And it is one of those tales of revenge that will work on the viewer from the top down, play with you psychologically, send shivers down your spine and make your toes curl at the graphic violence on screen.

Well that's what the teaser trailer suggests anyway. A surprisingly good North American box office taking suggest this is either a good attempt at re-working a 70s horror or one of those dire date movies.

But entering the cinema with no partner on hand means I'm hoping it's the former.

Thoughts Afterwards

EVERY single horror movie, except a few notable exceptions, have the same exact formula this decade - and it's really annoying me a lot.

So much of what 'horror' is should be the unknown, the mystery and the potential of what is in the darkness. That cannot and does not happen when the viewer knows what is going to happen and how everything is going to end.

I used to jump like a baby when people screamed 'boo!' from nowhere at school - and as adulthood blossomed I've found I'm still being treated to this exact same tactic, only in a guise of gore and eerie music.

And Last House On The Left joins the growing mountain of movies exactly like this.

A family take a summer trip to their holiday house in the country (a desolate forest in deepest America) and everything is lovely - we all know that won't last though!

Things take a turn when the daughter Mari (Sara Paxton) decides to go to the town to see her old friend Paige.

Cut an amazingly generic story short, it leads to them being kidnapped by some psychos, all related to each other I think, and then they end up at (you guessed it) in the last house on the left of a street.

One genuinely shocking scene, that's not been toned down is a very graphic rape scene. The camera pans close-up of a character's horrified, roughed up face and then tracks back and we see the terrible truth unfold on screen. This would be bearable if it didn't seem to drag on for so long and was very difficult to watch.

From then on though the movie turns into a dirty, unlikeable wrestling match. The terrible things that happen leading up to the encounters at the 'last house on the left' are built up and built up and... seem to fall quite flat.

No 'good' character does anything intelligent or worthy of the viewer's affection, the 'bad' characters are just so outrageously detestable that I only wished they'd get there come-uppence so they'd have less screen time. Everything that plays out after the forest is just a little bit annoying... people being thrown one way or another, bashing into tables and smashing an assortment of objects over each other. If Hulk Hogan had made an appearance it wouldn't have been a huge surprise.

After all has been said and done, all blood has been shed and all screams have been uttered, the credits roll with a very brief moment of what could have been a good movie. Literally 10 seconds before the end of the movie we get a glimpse of creativity. I won't ruin the only good part of the movie though, for those mad people who decide to see this instead of the infinitely better Drag Me To Hell, but it was a slight reward for getting through the laborious two-hours of running and shouting.

And that's that. Possibly the worst movie I've had to watch in my stint of writing reviews. Movies like [REC] and even the first Saw movie are what the horror genre should aspire to be, they should be steering clear of regurgitating the same old tired rubbish that viewers have come to expect. Yes, in one scene you'll be shocked - but it's a cheap shock that is cruel, unnecessary and distressing - and everything else is exactly as you'll expect.

Take a stand and don't see this at the cinema, this has all the creativity, flair and dynamism of a budget straight-to-DVD release. Avoid it.

1/5 Stars.