The Last House on the Left

It rests on 13 acres of earth over the very center of hell...!

Horror Thriller
84 min     6     1972     USA


Two teenage girls try to buy marijuana in the city - where they get kidnapped and brutalized by a gang of psychotic convicts.


tmdb17996075 wrote:
While a lot of people seem to praise this film as a horror gem, I myself consider it more like a drama… a mildly gruesome drama, but certainly not horror. I can enjoy horror films that don't contain some of the expected traits, like: jumps, creepy music, lots of screaming or tons of gore… but there has to be something to remind us that this is, in fact, a horror movie after all. To be honest though, there is a little bit of gore, that's true… but if the atmosphere isn't reminiscent of a horror film, the gore itself ends up being out of place. I was expecting something good, as I consider Wes Craven to be a very talented horror director, but I guess he simply wasn't in his prime back then. On 'Last House on the Left', the story revolves around a group of criminals, three guys and a trashy girl, who have recently escaped from prison. Two girls on her way to a concert, decide to stop by a house, looking for marijuana. The girls are kidnapped by these ex convicts, who torture them, rape them and eventually murder them in a brutal way. After butchering the two friends, the gang seeks refuge with the parents of one of the victims, who are completely unaware of everything. However, when the man of the house finds out about what happened to his daughter and who were responsible for what happened to her, he teams up with his wife to execute a gruesome revenge against his four guests. The idea of two vindictive parents trying to avenge their dead daughter sounded promising and original for a horror film. It gives hopes for something tragic, dramatic and gruesome, but in the end, "Last House on the Left" ends up being more like a drama full of missed opportunities. One would expect a movie like this to reach its high point in the scene where the parents are finally able to avenge their daughter, but to my disappointment, this confrontation takes place only during the very last minutes of the film and it is shown in a very bland way. I can understand that minimalism works in certain films, and I don't expect all movies to offer some kind of gruesome shock value. The problem is that simplicity is not exactly something that one would expect from a film like this, where a certain amount of gruesomeness is almost mandatory. When the father finds out about what happened to his daughter, he looks completely numb. We never really get to see any signs of devastation, which would have added a well-placed share of drama to the story and would have made the last minutes much more powerful and tragic. My main problem with this film, however, is the fact that there are a few moments of pointless slapstick comedy. I mean, how can this be explained. It's supposed to be a horror film, but instead it is a horrible drama… with a few comedy moments? We see a girl getting stabbed and right after that, we see two dumb cops doing funny things for the audience to laugh. Honestly, I don't get it. I also find the banjo music to be inappropriate, as it works as a some kind comedy relief and it really doesn't make any sense in a movie like this. I am aware that sometimes, joyful music in horror movies is a way to create some kind of strong contrasting atmosphere, but in 'Last House on the Left', it simply sounded out of place. Most people seem to be impressed about the 'appalling gore' and impressive scenes, but I was mostly surprised by the lack of them. True, there are a few scenes that looked pretty brutal, but the gore is not striking enough to save the entire movie. I don't really understand what's the deal with the lame tag line that says 'To avoid fainting, keep repeating "It's only a movie...It's only a movie..."'. I didn't find any parts to be that horrifying, to be honest. Even though I don't focus on the gore very much, I must admit that there are certain horror movies that make up for the weak plot, with a nice amount of carnage... unfortunately, this film is not one of those. I give this movie 5 stars because even though I don't agree with the overhype, I still think it's a watchable drama with a few horror and comedy elements scattered around.