Last House ’09 is not a shot by shot remake, but it is pointless enough to feel like one. It doesn’t help that Craven’s original has become endlessly copied enough for the story to feel old and redundant. And, of course, shorn of its Vietnam War subtext, there really is no reason for this film to exist.
Escaped convict Krug (pronounced like the first half of ‘Krueger’) and his son, brother and girlfriend are on the run from the law. They cross paths with pretty young things Paige and Mari. Lots of torture and rapey bullshit follows. Nastiness done with, Krug and company find themselves at Mari’s parents’ house, where Monica Potter proceeds to cry a lot and wreak gory revenge.
Not being a fan of Craven’s original flick, I was even less of a fan of this follow-up. Sure, it’s slick and flashily edited – and Monica Potter and Garret Dillahunt are exceptionally good - but there’s only so much you can do with such a story.
After too much dull nothingness, at around 40 minutes in, the first of the rapey stuff occurs. It isn’t as sensationally done as in its first incarnation, but still leaves a foul taste in the mouth. It’s ironic; director Dennis Iliads updates the violence and gruesomeness, but balks at the original’s sense of nihilism. Roll over for spoilers: only one of the girls is killed. And of course, because humanity can’t be all bad, Krug’s son turns on him in the final beat. There’s more of a ‘reason’ given to Krug’s anger towards the girls. One is led to believe that the girls would have gotten off lighter if Mari hadn’t crashed the criminals’ car. The parents’ revenge, meanwhile, seems driven more by necessity and self-defence than it is pure vengeance. Thankfully there’s no enforced urination scenes. I can go without seeing that on the big screen.
That said, however, the ‘revenge’ part of the movie works better than it did in the original; no doubt thanks to an increase in budget and more recent innovations in torture guff technology. Hella big spoiler here: Dad microwaves Krug’s head. Best thing ever, even if the fucking trailer did give it away. End spoilery bits.
Ultimately however, my distaste for the story being told - and its pervading sense of pointlessness – makes Last House ’09 feel like yet another by-the-numbers remake. Unlike the more, um, good Hills Have Eyes remake, the story here is neither interesting nor well-updated enough to work.
2/5 screaming Scream Queens!!