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The Shallowest Pool on the Left

Movie title: The Last House on the Left (2009)
Grade: D+ (1 1/2 stars)
Rated: R
Summation: A gang led by a prison escapee unknowingly finds refuge at a vacation home belonging to the parents of one of the victims, where a mother and father seek revenge.
Spoilers ahead: No

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Wasted time can put me in a bad mood. Having a bad time is understandable in that bad times are beyond our control. We deal with them, and often, they make us relish the good times even more. But wasted time is different. It detracts while giving nothing in return. Bad movies have that effect. They take, but someone show me where they give back. The Last House on the Left is a prime example.

First, you have typically clueless teens wandering into trouble, reapplying that tired old sense of poetic Hollywood justice that says kids doing naughty things always end up dead or in dire straits. It's the moral of the story of nearly every horror movie in existence. The kids are young and dumb and hot, but if it weren't for their bimbo-ic rumps, there wouldn't have been a movie to suffer through. But there is, so you see now why I hate them so.

Then you have over-the-top bad guys, a gang of morally dissolute thugs, convicts who have no cause whatsoever, just a desire to do evil. They're just evil and love hurting and raping and killing simply for the sake of…hurting and raping and killing. That's all there is to it. You just have to accept that.

Now in a good movie, what makes interesting villains interesting is that they have a cause or at least an underlying reason to account for their marred and malicious natures. They’re complex, perhaps screwy and insane, definitely flawed, but always flushed out, which is to say, there’s a lot to them. But this isn’t a good movie. We get none of that in this refined-but-rancorous take on a horror flick.

And then we get a director who has what has to be an unhealthy passion for keeping the camera on tortured victims for as long as he can possibly get away with. Sort of makes the viewer think of something along the lines of: “Alright, we get it. The girls are suffering at the whim of violent and cruel men. Ok. Enough’s enough. We got it!”

If violence and gore and prolonged scenes of intense, agonizing torture is your thing, no problem (though if it becomes too much of an obsession, you may need to talk to someone). It only becomes my problem when that's all you have in a movie.

I want plot twists, damn it! I want some level of suspense, a satisfying massage of those other tense back muscles I call my emotions. Give me something to transmit that perky feeling that I'm being mentally paid back for my time spent watching. I get irritable when I don't get that.

Walls painted with blood are a wanted commodity to some. A hand forced into a running garbage disposer is a good thing. Expect that. Expect action--with an ironic twist of fate. Just don't expect anything more from a story that is not on equal footing with the 1972 Wes Craven original. If this film were a pool, you’d see a “NO DIVING” sign.

(JH)

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Director: Dennis Lliadis
Starring: Garret Dillahunt “Krug,” Michael Bowen “Morton,” Joshua Cox “Giles,” Riki Lindhome “Sadie,” Aaron Paul “Francis,” Sara Paxton “Mari Collingwood,” Monica Potter “Emma Collingwood,” Tony Goldwyn “John Collingwood,” Martha MacIsaac “Paige,” Spencer Treat Clark “Justin”
Genre: Drama / Horror / Thriller

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