Member Blog Post
I bought the DVD for the remake of Last House about a year ago as an impulse buy. To be honest, I've been avoiding watching it because I love the original so much and I was so anxious that they were going to screw it up completely. Well, I finally watched it today and to be honest, it wasn't bad. And I'm hyper critical of remakes.
Although Wes Craven didn't actually direct it, seeing as how he produced it...it contained classic elements of Craven films and was a decent nod at the original. It also resembled "The Devil's Rejects" in terms of art direction, lots of dusty sandy colors and grays...even the blood is not too red. You know, this whole "muted tone" look. Of course, Devil's Rejects if very much influenced by the original Last House.
You can tell that Craven wanted a remake to possibly "redeem" some of its choppy of "goofy" elements. Many of the elements which made it seem goofy to outsiders wasn't there and the tone was very serious. Bizarrly, despite the lack of harmonica music and bumbling police officers...I think the remake is not as disturbing as the original.
People complained about how sexually decedant the film is and how degrading the content is. However, the original is far more visceral and humiliating. The girls in the remake don't experience as profound as a humiliation as the girls in the original, being made to piss themselves and have sex with each other...and Krug doesn't carve his name into Mary's chest like in the original.
The gang dynamic is very different and in many ways I prefer the quirkiness of the original gang. It's not that the performances in the remake were bad, but the characters weren't as interesting to me. "Justin" has replaced Junior in the original and the casting is, in a way, far more rational because he looks as if he could actually be Krug's son. Yeah, and they pronounce his name Kruhg (like thug) and not kroog...the way it's supposed to be pronounced.
The remake is also different because the culture in which it is set is totally different. The original Last House took place in the highly pessimistic post-hippy era and is actually more mean-spirited than the remake, which has a much happier ending. Mary and Justin survive. I had mixed feelings about this decision because the hollow degredation of the violance doesn't drive home in the same desperate way as it did in the original. The son is also not being controlled by heroin...but the son's character is in the remake, in certain ways, more sympathetic.
The brutality of the first film is hardly matched in the remake but it attempts it with the prolonged rape scene which rivaled "Irreversable" in its intensity. Seriously though, the get off much easier in this one...except for the very long rape scene.
As a woman, the themes in the film are particularly frightening. The rape is not, in my mind, exploitative...but painful. It's supposed to hurt. You need to feel her pain so that you can feel the pain and the rage of the parents. Unfortunatly, rape is a subject I know too much about...some people very close to me have been affected. I'm actually pleased when it's presented as what it is...it's a form of murder which is almost worse than an actualy death.
If you hate remakes on general principal or are sensitive about rape dont' watch it. As a huge fan of the original, I was satisfied with this attempted update which falters at time but excels in other areas.