The Last House on the Left - Movie Poster

The Last House on the Left (2009) – Movie Review

I never did see the original video nasty version of The Last House on the Left from 1972, but I did see some of the others from back in the day, and generally, I wasn’t really impressed by them, so I never went out of my way to watch the rest. Similarly, I’m not a big supporter of the idea of all these re-makes of 70’s-80’s horrors.

The re-make craze seems to have expanded lately to include sci-fi/action films like Total Recall and Robocop etc. This makes me very nervous as I loved Robocop back in the day, even if I was only a child when I watched it (you won’t tell anyone will you?) I hope they don’t mess it up. (Update: Spoiler alert – they did).

Anyway, so I found that I had the 2009 re-make of The Last House on the Left recorded on my Sky+ HD box, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Two girls get themselves mixed up with an escaped convict and his nasty family/gang. The leader, played by Garret Dillahunt is better known by myself for his role in The Sarah Connor Chronicles or more recently as the incredibly likeable Burt in Raising Hope. There is not much to like about his character in Last House on the Left however. He savagely attacks the girls in the woods while his gang sit and watch. The attacks are brutal and graphic with a gritty sense of realism.

A rape scene in any film is an uncomfortable experience for the viewer and this film does a great job not to make light of the situation; the scene is awkward and feels much longer than it probably really is. It is difficult to watch and you are glad when it’s over, but this is one of the film’s strengths – that it can have that kind of effect on the viewer.

The girls are left for dead after the attacks and having wrecked their escape vehicle and taking injuries themselves, the gang are forced to seek shelter in a nearby home when a storm rolls in. Unknown to them, it is the home of one of the girl’s parents. The couple take the gang in and fix them up, allowing them to sleep in the guest house.

Sara Paxton is attacked, raped and left for dead in the 2009 remake of The Last House on the Left
Sara Paxton is attacked, raped and left for dead in the 2009 remake of The Last House on the Left

During the night, one of the girls manages to crawl back to the house and the parents learn that their attackers are just next door, but they don’t have a vehicle to escape in since the gang already managed to wrap it around a tree. They have no choice but to bunker down and fend for themselves.

I won’t go into too much detail, but the film is essentially a horror/thriller revenge-style movie as the parents take matters into their own hands to defend themselves and their daughter. Cue more graphic violence and at least one or two more quality deaths involving a garbage disposal unit, a hammer and a microwave.

The film asks the question on the poster “If bad people hurt someone you loved, how far would you go to hurt them back?” In the case of this family, it seems they would go pretty far, especially with the last member of the gang… but can you really blame them?

I didn’t have particularly high hopes going into The Last House on the Left, but I was pleasantly surprised. Despite its graphic violence and the uncomfortable rape scene, I enjoyed the film overall and was rooting for the family the whole time.

I would now be quite interested to go back and watch the original, although it sounds like it hasn’t got the best reviews. Let me know in the comments below your thoughts for both the original and the re-make, I’d be interested to know.

Oh, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at Burt in Raising Hope the same way again!

My Rating: 6/10

About the Author: Chris Russell has a passion for movies, films and cool TV shows and loves to share that passion here on Movie Retrospect where readers can join the discussion in the comments below or via our socials. If you enjoyed this post, please follow @MovieRetrospect on X / Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

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