Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Last House On The Left (remake)


Okay first things first, I love the original film by Wes Craven, even with all its flaws, I love it. It is a disturbing film, especially for a film of the early 70's. It has this brutal, ruthless violence, definitely reflecting the time it was made. Sure it had bumbling cops and some weird music which didn't fit the scenes and bad acting here and there, but for me I can over look those things.

I wasn't really welcoming a remake, I figured it would probably suck. At the same time I thought that it wouldn't hurt to give it a make over if done correctly. I think I can safely say, that they did a lot of things right with this one. I did have some problems with it, but we will get into that later on.

For those reading this that do not know, this a revenge story. Wes Craven based his original film off of the 1960 film The Virgin Spring by Ingmar Bergman. The basic premise for all three films, a young woman is raped and attacked (killed too?) by a group, who then seek shelter in the home of the young woman's parents, the parents figure out what they did and well they seek revenge.

So this remake starts off with two cops in the car with a criminal called Krug (Garret Dillahunt), mid transport he escapes. We then meet Mari (Sara Paxton) who meets up with her friend Paige (Martha MacIsaac). They hang out after Mari and her parents come to town for some time off. While Paige is at work they meet Justin (Spencer Treat Clark) who tells them at his motel he has some top weed. They go with him, and whilst hanging out in the motel room, Krug and the gang show up. Needless to say certain things happen to the girls and Krug and co wind up at Mari's parents (Monica Potter and Tony Goldwyn) house. One thing leads to another and they find out what happens and you don't want to be in Krug and co's shoes.

So to the good stuff, the acting is all round pretty good. Unlike the original the parents can actually act, and they both put on a strong show. No bumbling cops either, which gave the film a more serious tone. At times the violence in this was very brutal and it was actually hard to watch, much like the original. The rape scene is down right brutal and awful, and its supposed to make you feel nothing for Krug, other then you wanting someone to smash his head in. You really feel for Mari, and Sara Paxton put on such a great and strong performance. Garret Dillahunt who I am a big fan of, was probably the perfect casting for Krug. He was cold, he was brutal and he was ruthless. Aaron Paul as Francis did a good job as well, he played all the right notes. Sadie played by Riki Lindhome was not a very fleshed out character and I just didn't think she did too well. Spencer Treat Clark who people might remember as the kid from Gladiator is really quite amazing as Justin. He brings so much to the character and despite everything you really feel sympathy for him.

In the original (I hate to keep comparing but I can't do it any other way), Krug and co feel anything but human. After they attack the girls, there is a sense that they are dehumanised, there is nothing left for them. Krug and co here don't feel like that, they feel more like typical film bad guys. I think they really needed to have that demanised feel, and I didn't get that. I think this is heading into spoiler territory (Although if you watch the trailer, it is already spoiled) Mari in the original died, in this she did not. It felt like the film didn't have the balls to kill her. In a way it worked, but I think the revenge would have felt a lot more justified if she had been killed. The parents do get really brutal, and the violence at times was a bit over the top, especially a scene with a microwave and it is just so over the top and silly it really does not fit the film.

While this film tried to change things for the better, for the most part it worked, but I think it really needed more balls like the original. But both these films are really a product of the times they came from.

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