22nd Aug2023

‘The Last House on the Left’ Blu-ray Review (Arrow Video)

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Garret Dillahunt, Aaron Paul, Riki Lindhome, Spencer Treat Clark, Sara Paxton, Monica Potter, Tony Goldwyn, Martha MacIsaac | Written by Adam Alleca, Carl Ellsworth | Directed by Dennis Iliadis

Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left is regarded by many as a classic of the horror genre, and by others as one of the most vile films committed to celluloid. The 1972 film remained blacklisted in the UK, where it was banned for nearly 30 years (finally seeing an uncut release in 2008). In 2006 Rogue Pictures made the shock announcement that Craven had agreed to produce a remake of his film. At the time, many people, myself included, were worried that any remake would have to be watered down for modern audiences – especially when the majority of horror remakes at the time were being released as PG-13. Information on the remake was sparse, apart from Craven and Rogue insisting that it would preserve the storyline of the original film. The original script by Adam Alleca apparently featured a supernatural third act to the film, but the screenplay was soon re-written by Carl Ellsworth, writer of Craven’s underrated Red Eye.

Krug (Garret Dillahunt), on his way to jail, is broken out of police custody by Francis (Aaron Paul), and Sadie (Riki Lindhome). Meanwhile, Emma (Monica Potter), John (Tony Goldwyn), and Mari Collingwood (Sara Paxton) head off on a family vacation to their lake house. Shortly after arriving, Mari borrows the family car and drives into town to spend time with her friend Paige (Martha MacIsaac) who works as a cashier at a local store. It’s there that Paige and Mari meet Justin (Spencer Treat Clark), who invites them both back to his hotel room to buy some weed. Whilst the three are getting high, Krug, Francis, and Sadie arrive at the room with the news that photos of Krug and Sadie have made the local paper. Worried that Paige and Mari will run to the cops, Krug kidnaps them and uses Mari’s car to leave town. Mari tries to make an escape from the car, but the ensuing fracas causes Krug to crash into a tree. Angry at Mari’s attempt to escape Krug vents his frustration on Paige – stabbing her in the stomach twice; and then he proceeds to rape Mari as she watches her friend die.

Mari eventually manages to escape her tormentors and makes it to the lake and swims to safety. As she swims away, Krug shoots her in the back, leaving her to bleed out in the lake. With no way to leave, and a storm hitting, Krug and his family seek refuge at the lake house with, unbeknownst to them, Mari’s parents. Justin, full of remorse for what his father Krug did, is the first to realise that Emma and John are Mari’s parents and he intentionally leaves the necklace Krug took from Mari on the kitchen counter to let them know what has happened to their daughter. Mari eventually makes it to the lake house, barely alive she manages to alert her parents to her presence, at which time Emma and John put two and two together and realise that Krug and his family are the ones who did this to her. Instead of escaping into the woods with Mari, the Collingwoods decide to get revenge on those responsible in the same brutal manner in which Krug and co. treated Mari. Francis is the first to die at the hands of Emma and John after he discovers Mari’s body, followed by Sadie who awakens to find the Collingwoods in her and Krug’s room. In the struggle, Krug escapes and Sadie is shot in the eye by Emma. Krug comes to realise that he has found solace with his victim’s parents, and turns the tables on the Collingwoods. After fighting with John and attacking Justin, Krug is finally overcome by Emma who knocks him unconscious with a fire extinguisher. Krug awakens to find himself on the kitchen table, his head in the microwave oven, and paralyzed from the neck down. John proceeds to taunt him before turning on the oven and leaving, then he, Emma, Mari, and Justin take the boat to freedom.

What can I say about the remake of The Last House on the Left? Yes, there have been changes to the original story, in particular, the two key changes revolve around the youngest characters in the movie: In the original 1972 film Mari is found dead, but in this remake, she is found (barely) alive by her parents. The character of Justin has also been changed, the filmmakers have made him an unwilling participant in Krug’s plans, making him sympathetic rather than villainous. These changes work, I found myself rooting for Mari during her escape and was glad to see her arrive alive, if a little worse for wear, at the lake house; and having Justin feel remorseful about the actions of his father, Krug, and having him rescued by the Collingwood’s allows us to feel that they have not succumbed to the violence they have perpetrated.

Everything about The Last House on the Left is perfect – the score, the direction, the look and in particular the acting. Garret Dillahunt makes for a brilliant Krug, his portrayal of the character makes him seem more sociopathic and sadistic than David Hess’ original, who mainly came across as insane. The two teen leads, Sara Paxton (Mari) and Spencer Treat Clark (Justin) are a revelation. Clark manages to make the viewer feel sorry for his character without saying much at all, his manner and facial expressions speak for themselves; Clark is definitely one to watch in the future. As for Sara Paxton, many will have only seen her in comedies such as Sydney White and Superhero Movie, so to see her bring so much pain to the role of Mari and undergo so much suffering at the hands of Krug, makes for unsettling viewing. I think the role of Mari in The Last House on the Left should have been Paxton’s breakout role, why she went into a TV show after this I do not know, she should have cashed in on such a tour-de-force performance as this. As the parents, Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter are just brilliant, their switch from a kind, helpful, loving couple to distraught, vengeful parents is a joy to watch – it’s nice to see Goldwyn playing it straight for once, in the roles I have seen of his he’s usually playing unhinged, kooky characters, but not here. In any revenge movie, it’s always a fine balance between revenge and pleasure for any actor, and Goldwyn and Potter both pull it off, managing to act vicious towards their daughter’s attackers, whilst looking frightened and timid.

It’s still great knowing that, when it wants to, Hollywood can make an excellent R-rated horror; and I still stand by my thoughts on its original release… The Last House on the Left should be the remake by which all others are measured, it successfully updates the story for a modern audience whilst keeping all of the brutality that was present in Wes Craven’s original film. The remake has lost none of the original film’s impact: it is as brutal, unsettling and as uneasy to watch as the 1972 film, with improved special effects alongside superb direction, cast and acting. In my opinion, The Last House on the Left is one of the best remakes to have ever been committed to film.


  • Two versions of the film: the original Theatrical Version and the Unrated Version
  • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Zoë Rose Smith
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Eric Adrian Lee


  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the original Theatrical Version of the film
  • Exclusive new filmed introduction by director Dennis Iliadis
  • Brand new audio commentary by David Flint and Adrian Smith
  • A River of Blood, a new 31-minute interview with Sara Paxton
  • The Notorious Krug, a new 27-minute interview with actor Garret Dillahunt
  • Suspending Disbelief, a new 18-minute interview with screenwriter Carl Ellsworth
  • Reviving the Legend, a new 33-minute interview with producer Jonathan Craven
  • Look Inside Featurette, from the film’s original 2009 release
  • Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Image gallery


  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the Unrated Version

***** 5/5

The Last House on the Left will be released on a limited edition Blu-ay and 4K UHD on Monday, August 28th 2023, courtesy of Arrow Video.


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