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Rated 3.03 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Violence & Terror Maximized
by Betty Jo Tucker

How much violence can you take in a movie? The Last House on the Left will test your tolerance level, for sure. I had trouble sitting through the film, but managed to do so because of my concern for the main characters in this terrifying remake of Wes Craven’s 1972 thriller.

I try to catch any movie with Carl Ellsworth listed as one of the screenwriters. He certainly knows how to get me hooked on a suspenseful plot. If you’ve seen Disturbia and/or Red Eye, you know what I mean. In The Last House on the Left (co-written with Adam Alleca), suspense begins from the moment two teenage girls enter a motel room and continues with relentless pace -- thanks also to director Dennis Iliadis -- until the very end. My husband claims I almost broke his fingers while holding his hand during some of the most excruciating scenes.

Although a simple story about how parents wreak revenge against the kidnappers and torturers of their daughter, this horror film boasts more realistic appeal than similar genre offerings. No supernatural special effects are needed, for the terrible acts depicted are done by villainous human beings as well as by basically good people who find themselves in a desperate situation. The cast is top-notch, especially Sara Paxton (Aquamarine) as a sister mourning the loss of her brother, then terrorized by an escaped con and his cohorts. Garret Dillahunt (Roman Nevikov in TV's Life) also stands out. I shudder merely thinking about his chilling turn here as the main bad guy. Equally outstanding are Monica Potter (Along Came a Spider) and Tony Goldwyn (American Gun) as parents willing to do anything to protect their daughter.       

Because of a highly disturbing rape scene plus the film’s many brutal beatings, stabbings, shootings and so forth, I think The Last House on the Left should be rated “NC-17” instead of “R.” But, hey, I’m a very squeamish movie critic -- so consider the source.  (Capsule review.)

(Released by Rogue Pictures and rated “R” for sadistic brutal violence including a rape and disturbing images, language, nudity and some drug use.)

For more information about this film, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website. 

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