THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is an intense, violent and bloody thriller.
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.
(B, C, Ho, LLL, VVV, SS, NN, A, DD, MMM) Light moral worldview containing a redemptive hint of forgiveness, plus some homosexual references; at least 51 obscenities, five strong profanities and six light profanities; very strong intense violence with some blood includes a brutal rape scene, prisoner kills two police officers, two violent crashes, torture, fighting, bloody scene of stitching up a nose, villain hit with pickaxe, stabbings, shootings, villain’s head placed in microwave with gruesome results; strong sexual content includes a savage depicted rape scene, implied fornication, sexual innuendos, and lesbian homosexual advances; upper female nudity, rear female nudity, teenager in bra and panties, and female cleavage; brief alcohol use for drinking, but also for medicinal purposes; marijuana use; and, lying, kidnapping, revenge, bad role models, peer pressure, and moral relativism.
THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is a story about choices, the love of a family who fight to protect their only remaining child, and a teenage boy facing a moral dilemma. The movie opens with Emma and John Collingwood taking their teenage daughter, Mari, on summer vacation. Mari meets her friend Paige, but they are lured by a teenager, Justin, to a motel room, where they are kidnapped by Justin’s father, an escaped convict, and his two accomplices. Mari tries to escape, but is seriously hurt. Ironically, her parents welcome Justin and his father’s gang into their home, without knowing that Mari is hurt and that their new houseguests were responsible.
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.