When Wes Craven released Last House on the Left back in 1972, it was heralded as a new direction in horror with its terrifying realism and brutal cruelty. The same cannot be said for the new remake.
The first half of the movie follows young clean-living, swimming champ Mari Collingwood (Sara Paxton) as she finds herself in deadly peril after following her friend Paige back to the hotel of mysterious teen Justin. But when Justin’s uncle (Garret Dillahunt) arrives, having just been busted out of custody by his psycho brother and devoted girlfriend, the girls are taken out into the woods where they are raped, tortured and killed – with poor Justin looking on in horror.
But as a storm sets in, and with no car to get back to town, the gang are forced to take refuge in a lakeside house, which just happens to be the home of Mari’s parents John and Emma (Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter). This second half of the film is filled with loads of tension, but you just know that the parents are going to twig something’s not quite right with these strangers sooner rather than later. Will Justin tell them the truth, or keep quiet?
I won’t spoil what happens next, but safe to say that the big difference between Craven’s original classic and this one is the addition of brooding teen Justin to give the film a little more humanity. But he just comes across as wet. While the original was totally nihilistic from beginning to end, this version plays it too safe.
Also, everyone in the cast looks too fit to be believed – they all look like gym freaks judging from all the toned physiques. My verdict: a sterile attempt at resurrecting a true cult. Go hunt down the original, now that’s truly frightening.
Just tell yourself, ‘Its only a remake, It’s only a remake’.
Released 19 October