This one, suggested to me by Carra Mary Ann Cole, really left me unsettled, folks. I mean, I don't know what to say. I watched this on a Sunday afternoon. It was a bright, cheery day outside, and while I should have been enjoying the weather, the disciplined guy in me said, no, we need to get in another film for these reviews. You promised. Plus, it's ONLY 84 minutes. No harm, right? Wrong...
In similar fashion, this movie, directed by the talented Wes Craven, nonetheless, presented such a dichotomy of cheerfulness and gross unease. Thinking back on that, I really appreciate what Craven was going for. I really do, but it just didn't work for me at all.
Okay, let's get to the story. Shall we? A teenage girl, with newfound independence, tells her parents she's going to a rock concert with a friend they don't approve of. They don't get far out of the neighborhood before they are taken hostage by a sadistic crew of criminals. Without revealing the details of the story, in case you have a stomach and desire to watch it, I'll say this. They are faced with gruesome sexual crimes and acts, and lost in a man's world, they fend for themselves, but not very well. The women are weak, and stereotyped both in gender and as hippies, there is not much development in them as characters, other than just as objects of desire. Even in the opening scene, the mailman tells the family dog (who greets him) that, boy, that Mari is the prettiest girl in town. We're talking a homely, older man telling that to a dog in private. Really? Talk about setting the stage. Then we cut to the living room where Mari comes in with a top that Dad says looks too tight, and he begins talking about her boobies. I mean, what? Is this where we were in the 70s? It sure seems that way.
Now, let's talk about the musical score. Music makes or breaks films, folks. The composers and writers of these scores are unsung heroes of the great films out there. This, sadly, was not one. At one moment, we are building suspense for a major scene, like rape, or attempted murder, then cue the Dukes of Hazzard style music. Then we have this bumbling sheriff and deputy running out of gas, and trying to hitch a ride with an African American woman driving a truck full of chickens. She refuses to let them take the truck and directs them to sit on the top if they want to ride (because I'm not getting rid of my chickens). Their weight literally is just too much and as the truck stalls, they roll off. Cue the comedy track. Talk about jarring. It's like trying to watch a horror film on a bright, Sunday afternoon. I should have known better and gone outside to take my dog for a walk.
If you do start watching it, you need to finish it, though. It's like a barbed thorn. You gotta just push on through, or risk dealing with that thorn staying under your skin. Best not to even bother, though.
Carra, I can imagine this scared the living daylights out of you, and brought you many sleepless nights back in the 70s. I know one thing. Wes Craven knew how to get under our skin, and The Last House on the Left was no different.
I give this one 3 bits out of 8. One bit for the acting. One bit for the ending. And one bit for Wes Craven.