THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (Dennis Iliadis). 100 minutes. Opens Friday (March 13). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: N
Here’s yet another ho-hum remake of a 70s trash title that was, in its day, a dangerous assault on the audience. Now it’s a safe-as-milk time-waster for fans who want a little gore but no really disturbing images or ideas.
Wes Craven’s 1972 story, swiped from a 14th-century folk tale via Ingmar Bergman’s 1960 Virgin Spring, centres on a teenage girl who is raped and murdered by a quartet of lowlife scum who then run afoul of the girl’s nice, middle-class parents, who exact bloody revenge.
Craven made a point of showing us nastiness never before seen on the screen and drawing it out long enough to make us really uncomfortable. Dennis Iliadis shows just enough to make his narrative point, and excises all of Craven’s more bizarre and effective images and plot points without substituting any of his own.
Craven spent time with his baddies, both humanizing them and making them scarier. Iliadis doesn’t bother. Barring a little father-son tension, this crew is completely nondescript. As gang leader Krug, Garret Dillahunt is miscast and menace-free.
The acting matches the characters: bland. Ditto the script, visuals and pacing.