Review: The Last House on the Left Limited Edition UHD
Blu-ray & 4K UHD Blu-ray: The Last House on the Left (2009)
25 years ago I wrote my dissertation on women in horror, concentrating on the original (1972) Wes Craven directed Last House on the Left. I have watched that film so many times, I swore I’d never watch it again because it elicited a real sense of nausea in me. It’s a brutal film, interesting and as with most horrors of the 70s is some sort of reaction or social commentary of that time (The Vietnam war).
This remake, released here on 4K by Arrow shares a similar story, with the same characters names, but it’s more of a ‘another version’ than a straight up copy.
Emma and her medical doctor husband John Collingwood, along with their daughter, swimmer Mari (Sara Paxton), go to their lake house in the country. Mari wants to meet up with her friend Paige whom she rarely sees, and taking her parents car she meets her and ends up in Justin’s (a teenager passing through town) hotel room to smoke pot. Little do the girls know that Justin’s dad is an escaped killer called Krug (Garret Dillahunt) who moves around with his brother Francis and girlfriend Sadie.
I think it’s no plot spoiler to say that the story is similar to the original but has been updated to make Justin empathetic, he’s not like his killer family but is too scared to help the girls.
The original film is infamous for it’s brutality, for the rapes and for one of the central murderous characters being a woman.
This new ‘updated’ take is more polished (Craven made the ‘72 version on a shoestring, this has a budget), the acting is infinitely better, as is the script. But despite this, it’s a hard watch, I also have no idea what the social commentary is, or what the idea is behind this remake at all, other than… dare I suggest, titillation?
There are two versions available – The 4k theatrical cut and the ‘Unrated version’ which is 3 minutes longer. This is the version I watched and in truth I feel like those 3 minutes all went into the rape scene. The stabbing of Paige before Mari’s rape, is slow, it lingers on Krug stabbing her, we see him slowly remove the knife as Francis stabs her from behind, the camera centred on her wound. The Rape of Mari in the unrated version is, to me, similar to the rape in Irreversible, long, painful and horrific to watch. Again, the camera lingers on Krug thrusting, anally raping this petite blonde girl – in the theatrical version it’s a lot shorter and mainly from a distance. This is close up, on the rape, on her face. I genuinely felt sick.
Which makes me ask, why do filmmakers feel the need to show this act, and the stabbing so graphically other than to shock or perhaps to titillate? I’ve seen countless films depicting rape, and I really can’t see why an elongated scene like this is necessary. I did hope that the commentary or one of the extras would address this, but nope. Just a brief ‘oh this is a bit horrible’, then WHY linger on it in a film?
I don’t think anyone could call LHOTL and ‘enjoyable’ film, it’s not so much horror as a home invasion/rape/revenge film (done so well in I Spit on Your Grave, where it actually MEANS something), even when the criminals get their comeuppance, it’s a hollow victory.
The theatrical version of this film is more palatable, and despite the acting, I must admit that I’d chose not to watch either version of this film again.
- Two version of the film: the original Theatrical Version (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray) and the Unrated Version (Blu-ray)
- Original uncompressed stereo audio and Dts-HD Ma 5.1 surround audio for both films
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on both films
- Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Zoë Rose Smith
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Eric Adrian Lee
Disc One – Theatrical Version (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)
- 4K (2160p) Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDr10 compatible) of the original Theatrical Version of the film
- Exclusive new filmed introduction by director Dennis Iliadis
- Brand new audio commentary by David Flint and Adrian Smith
- A River of Blood, a new 31-minute interview with Sara Paxton
- The Notorious Krug, a new 27-minute interview with actor Garret Dillahunt
- Suspending Disbelief, a new 18-minute interview with screenwriter Carl Ellsworth
- Reviving the Legend, a new 33-minute interview with producer Jonathan Craven
- Look Inside Featurette, from the films original 2009 release
- Deleted scenes
- Theatrical trailer
- Image gallery
Disc Two – Unrated Version (blu-ray)
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the Unrated Version
Released August 28th.
Review by Tina from discs kindly supplied by Arrow Films via Fetch Publicity.