The Last House on the Left (1972)
Critic Consensus: Its visceral brutality is more repulsive than engrossing, but The Last House on the Left nevertheless introduces director Wes Craven as a distinctive voice in horror.
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as Phyllis Stone
as Mari Collingwood
as Dr. Collingwood
as Mrs. Collingwood
as Truck Driver
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Critic Reviews for The Last House on the Left
It isn't artistically adroit, but if success in this genre is counted by squirms, it's a success.
Craven's cold, flat style of filming emphasises the fact that the violence dehumanises not only the victims but the aggressors.
The party who wrote this sickening tripe and also directed the inept actors is Wes Craven.
A tough, bitter little sleeper of a movie that's about four times as good as you'd expect.
The film, to its credit, details both the initial acts of violation and the revenge that ensues as similarly de-humanising and reprehensible.
Audience Reviews for The Last House on the Left
Exploitation is supposed to be fun, but there is no fun here unless you get off on seeing vile scenes of rape and brutality, and the movie is so trashy and tonally awful that it becomes bizarre the way it combines all that ugly violence with a ridiculous, childish sense of humor.
This is the infamous movie that spawned one of the best taglines of all-time (the trailer warns the viewers to reiterate "it's only a movie"). While it isn't as crushingly scarifying as the promotion might indicate, 'The Last House on the Left' is unflinchingly brutal. The cinema-verite method really enhances the amateurish production value and the performers seem remarkably unrehearsed. "The Road Leads to Nowhere" is the perfect anthem for the film's prescient opening over salacious shots of Mary in the shower. Any other misogynistic exploitation film would linger on the nudity and infer that Mary's promiscuous outfit was the catalyst for her rape and demise. Instead Wes Craven counterbalances the female credulity with an incisive social commentary on the backfiring of the Flower-Power Era. Lest anyone suspect that the movie is without shortcomings, the cutaways to a buffoonish sheriff and deputy are tonally excruciating slapstick. The revenge elements in the last act are not handled with a pandering, crowd-pleasing sensationalism. When the parents finally retaliate against the attackers, it is a pyrrhic victory since their proactive stance of eye-for-eye cannot resurrect the two girls who were slain. While the film is certainly lopsided due to the Keystone-Kops antics, 'The Last House on the Left' is an underrated entry in the lost-innocence subgenre.
I know I saw them backwards, but I must compare this to the remake. It's like a cartoon compared to that film. The tone is all over the place, going from comedy to thriller in an instant (not successfully I might add), the acting is pretty awful, the story is not as compelling (they changed things in the remake and it was definitely better), and the overall feel of this movie is just so cheesy sometimes. The soundtrack is out of place with what the film is depicting and is just laughable. This is a 70's low budget B movie in vein of Romero, but it's not good. It's fairly entertaining, but for all the wrong reasons. Everything that was good about the remake (well shot, edited, and acted) is exactly what is wrong with this one. I will give it points for pushing the envelope of the film industry though. Wes Craven has done much better films than this one.
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