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The Last House on the Left (2009)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc released: 8/18/209
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 8/17/2009
If it's Monday, it must be remake time. Typically when we talk about remakes
the question of "why?" arises, and normally "money" is the only answer which
makes any sense. But, today we have a classic film where I can actually
understand the motivations for a remake.
When Writer/Director Wes Craven and Producer Sean Cunningham unleashed The Last House on the Left in 1972, it was like a body-blow to the movie-going public. This incredibly brutal, yet cheap and dirty looking film, didn't pull any punches when it came to portraying disturbing violence. The overall seediness of the movie gave it a quasi-documentary feel which only adds to the effect. However, the dark veneer of the movie is nearly ruined by the cheesy bluegrass music and an odd insistence at featuring two bumbling cops and their slapstick shenanigans. While The Last House on the Left will always be considered a landmark film in the sub-genre of ultra-violent movies, the bizarre comedy does hamper the film. Thus, it's understandable that, nearly forty years later, Craven and Cunningham would want a do-over.
The Last House on the Left introduces us to two very different families. Dr. John Collingwood (Tony Goldwyn) and his wife, Emma (Monica Potter) (who works in education in some capacity), and their daughter, Mari (Sara Paxton), leave the city to spend some time at their lakeside vacation home. Meanwhile, Krug (Garret Dillahunt) escapes from police custody with the aid of his brother, Francis (Aaron Paul), and his girlfriend, Sadie (Riki Lindhome), and he's reunited with his shy son, Justin (Spencer Treat Clark).
Mari asks to borrow the car to visit her friend Paige (Martha MacIsaac), and her parents reluctantly agree. Mari and Paige meet Justin, who takes the girls back to his motel room for some drugs. However, the party ends when Krug arrives. The convict decides that the girls are a liability and must be dealt with. They take Mari's car to the woods, where the two girls are brutally assaulted. However, the car is damaged, so Krug and his group go to the nearest house looking for a ride. As fate would have it, this brings them to John and Emma. When the parents learn what happened to Mari, they seek their vengeance.
When we discuss remakes, we often look at how they are similar or different when compared to the original. Some are very close to the original, such as
The Last House on the Left sports a non-sensical road sign on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains a VC-1 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. The daytime scenes are very sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source material. The crispness of these scenes is unbeatable and it feels as if one could simply walk into the frame. However, these scenes look too good and rob the film of the rawness which it needs. The colors here are very good. In contrast, the night-time scenes are somewhat dark. Some of then show intense grain and artifacting. Was this an attempt to mirror the vile nature of what was happening in the story? The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track delivers clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are quite good, showing nice separation and detail. During the thunderstorm, the surround sound and subwoofer effects really kick in, showing the power of this muscular track.
The Last House on the Left Blu-ray Disc contains only a few extras. We get 6 DELETED SCENES which run about 9 minutes. All of these are simply longer versions of scenes from the finished film and don't provide any notable new information. "A Look Inside" (3 minutes) plays like an extended version of the trailer with comments from Craven and Director Iliadis.
Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long