The Last House on the Left
Given the repellent nature of Wes Craven’s scuzzy little 1972 rape and revenge shocker, it’s a relief to find this glossy remake straying somewhat from the original’s sleazy path.
Craven and original producer Sean S Cunningham steer the hand of Dennis Illiadis, director of 2004’s gritty Greek crime flick Hardcore, who introduces surgeon John Collingwood (Tony Goldwyn), wife Emma (Monica Potter) and teenage daughter Mari (Sara Paxton) as they depart for a quiet weekend on a remote lakeside property. But when Mari heads off to score some drugs, she falls foul of a family of homicidal maniacs, led by sociopath Krug (Garret Dillahunt, not half as scary as the original’s David A Hess).
As before, there’s a painfully drawn out build-up to an extended and extremely nasty rape sequence. In the aftermath, the culprits blithely seek shelter from an oncoming rainstorm with Mari’s parents, who turn vengeful when they realise what’s happened to their daughter. Openly reworking the plot of Bergman’s The Virgin Spring, Craven and Cunningham have softened the hard edges of sexual sadism in favour of silly splatter, with Illadis’ climactic ‘head in the microwave’ showstopper an impressively mounted finale for hardened thrill-seekers.
General release from Fri 19 Jun.