THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT
Release Date: March 13, 2009
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 100 minutes
Distributor: Rogue Pictures/Universal Pictures
Director: Dennis Iliadis
Executive Producer: Ray Haboush
Address Comments To:Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman/CEO, General Electric
Jeff Zucker, President/CEO, NBC Universal
Ron Meyer, President/COO, Universal Studios
Marc Shmuger, Chairman
David Linde, Co-Chairman
Universal Pictures (Rogue Pictures and Focus Features)
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608-1085
Phone: (818) 777-1000
Web Page: www.universalstudios.com
After an opening scene where a prisoner kills two guards and escapes, the movie cuts to a family going on summer vacation. The mother, Emma Collingwood (played by Monica Potter), is reluctant to let her teenage daughter Mari, played by Sara Paxton, go into town to visit her friend Paige, played by Martha MacIsaac. Viewers find out that Emma and her husband John, played by Tony Goldwyn, have lost their son, which explains Emma’s reluctance to let her daughter go into town.
Paige’s poor judgment causes the girls to accompany a teenager named Justin, played by Spencer Treat Clark, to a motel room to buy some marijuana. There, they are surprised by Justin’s father, an escaped criminal named Krug (Garret Dillahunt), and his accomplices, Sadie and Francis (Riki Lindhome and Aaron Paul). Krug and his accomplices kidnap and assault Mari and Paige.
Once the kidnapping goes mobile (in Mari’s parents’ truck), Mari and Paige try to escape, which causes a violent crash. They are brutally punished for their foiled attempt. As a storm is brewing, Mari attempts another escape but is seriously hurt by the gang.
Ironically, Krug, his accomplices and Justin become houseguests of Mari’s parents, without knowing that Mari has been seriously hurt. Justin realizes who John and Emma are and devises a subtle sign to inform Emma about what his father’s gang has done. John and Emma get creative and vow to be prepared to do anything. Their plan to get to safety is hindered, however. What follows is a tag team effort by John and Emma and ultimately Justin to seek revenge.
THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT has a light moral worldview. It shows that bad choices can lead to regrettable consequences that can be life changing. It also shows a family taking matters into their own hands to protect one of their own, and causes the audience to think about what they would do if they found out their guests who had taken refuge in their home had seriously harmed someone in their own family. THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT also depicts a son making a hard decision to stand up to his own father, which indicates that no matter one’s family background, everyone has a choice.
THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT includes much foul language, gratuitous nudity, a brutal rape scene, and lots of bloody violence, which warrant an R rating. The action is suspenseful, however, and encourages viewers to pick sides. The actors deliver good performances and are well cast.
THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is a well-directed, entertaining thriller that captures real emotion. There’s also a pinch of comedy to lighten the intense mood. The content demands extreme caution, however, because of much foul language, gratuitous nudity and lots of bloody violence, including a brutal rape scene. Even so, it has a heroic, moral outcome. Justin ultimately decides not to honor his father’s evil wishes. Also, the two victimized parents rescue Justin from his doomed family life.