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Friday
Mar132009

The Last House on the Left

This is probably one of the hardest reviews I've ever had to write. Not because I don't know what to say or don't have a strong opinion one way or another. I'm just so torn between my admiration for what is technically a well made thriller and my hatred for the way it shamelessly subjected me to brutal rapes, stabbings, tortures, and murders all for the sake of "entertainment." This is not a horror movie. This is a snuff film. The Last House on the Left is a disgusting, vile piece of cinematic filth with a pessimistic bend to it that no human being anywhere should ever see.

If you've seen the 1972 original Wes Craven horror movie like I have, I suspect your reaction to the remake will largely be the same. If you enjoyed it, you will probably enjoy this one, but if you felt like you needed a shower and vowed to never ever watch it again, you should steer clear. As for me, I'm with the latter group.

The film follows two girls who are kidnapped, cut, stabbed, raped, and beaten by four people who eventually end up in one of their victim's homes with her parents. When their daughter stumbles in later that night, bloody and almost dead, the parents realize that they are housing the people who did that to her and seek revenge. Death ensues. So if you're fond of brutal, realistic, unnecessary violence and horrendous rape scenes that suck the life clean out of you to the point where you want to walk out of the theater, then be my guest. See this movie.

Personally, I didn't want to see it and I despised every second I spent watching it. In fact, I would have walked out during the rape scene if I didn't have to write this review. Nobody needs to be subjected to the nastiness shown here. Like I said earlier, on one hand I admire the film because it is technically well made, but does that really mean anything in the end? It's like a sculpture made of trash. You can call it art all you want, but at its core, it's still trash.

In my opening paragraph, I mentioned that the film had a pessimistic bend to it. Allow me to elaborate. What I mean is that it makes you feel like there is no good in the world, or at least none with any power. The only purely good people in the film are the two girls who get raped and beaten by their kidnappers. They have no power to do anything. Even when they do break free, they are quickly caught again. The movie shows no signs of hope for the girls, leading to a pessimistic view of the world. It shows that good is too weak to overcome evil. Only evil can overcome evil. Unfortunately, I don't share that same point of view.

You might be asking, "But Josh, don't the kidnappers get their comeuppance by the hands of the parents?" Well, yes they do. And do these rapists and murderers deserve what they get? Probably. It's a thin line really. But the movie doesn't make you feel like what they are doing is the right thing. You can say the parents are good, but then why do they kill their victims in the most heinous ways possible? They don't just use violence as a means of protection. They seek their victims out in the middle of the night while they are sleeping. That's not justice. That's murder. Evil is disguised as good in the film and I couldn't find it in myself to justify what the parents were doing, regardless of what the kidnappers may have deserved.

Honestly, I've never felt such a strong feeling of despair and hopelessness in a theater before. Much of that is due to the laughs and applause the film was getting from the audience watching it with me. Is this what our society has come to? That we laugh at murderers and rapists? That we cheer when someone is paralyzed and then tortured before dying a slow, painful death? It's a sad state of affairs and my heart aches to think that this is what we call entertainment.

This is a pessimist's movie wrapped in a revenge picture. While some may use irrational logic to justify what happens in the film as a good thing, others will see under its skin and expose the scum that lies beneath. The tricky thing is that I suspect it is trying to get this kind of reaction. If that is the case, then it succeeded. But does that mean we really need to watch it? Life is short and there are so many other great movies to watch, even in the horror genre, that don't unabashedly expose us to pure hatred and violence. Why waste your time with this one? Please, if you are a moral human being with a conscience, skip The Last House on the Left.

The Last House on the Left receives 1.5/5

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