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Last House on the Left, The


Stars: Sara Paxton, Tony Goldwyn, Monica Potter, Aaron Paul, Garret Dillahunt, Martha MacIsaac, Riki Lindholme, Spencer Treat Clark

Director: Dennis Iliadis

More of a violent thriller than the horror film the publicity may lead you to expect. Vacationing with her parents (Potter, Goldwyn) at their remote lakeside holiday home, aspiring champion swimmer Mari (Paxton, back in the water after her mermaid in Aquamarine) visits her flirty friend Paige (MacIsaac), unwisely joining her on an invitation from dodgy-looking Justin (Clark) to enjoy some really good pot.

Unknown to the girls, Justin is the son of psycho killer Krug (Dillahunt), who, en route to prison, has just been sprung by his equally psychopathic brother (Paul) and mistress (Lindholme). When the bad guys arrive unexpectedly as Justin and the girls get high, Mari and Paige are in big trouble. Rape and murder follow, but, ironically, the killers end up at Mari's holiday home, where her parents find themselves forced to extreme measures to survive.

Though there are times when you wish the director would get on with things, he does raise a fair amount of tension in the prolonged confrontation sequence at the end. Potter is particularly good here, but the last scene is a mistake and belongs in another kind of film.

David Quinlan

USA/South Africa 2008. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
110 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 09 Jun 2009