01st Apr2021

‘The Last House’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Camille Keaton, Karen Konzen, Scott Peeler, Eric Dooley, Christopher James Forrest, Victor Jones, Kurt McCall, Mark Poppleton, Mark Wright | Written and Directed by Samuel Farmer

Back in 1978 Camille Keaton took her revenge on a group of men who abducted and raped her, now in 2020 she’s out for revenge again – this time against a trio of home invaders in low-budget horror thriller The Last House, the second feature from writer/director Samuel Farmer (Girl of My Dreams).

The film tells the story of small-town widow (Keaton) who, whilst grieving in isolation, receives a deadly ultimatum from the privileged sons of a local land developer to sell her beloved property. With 24 hours to decide and her pleas to the town’s corrupt sheriff falling on deaf ears, she realises she must take matters into her own hands. Her quest for justice turns into an all-out battle for survival…

Taking it cues from not only the revenge thrillers that Keaton is known for but also the home invasion genre, The Last House takes the all too familiar trope of defending your home from intruders to a whole new level of viciousness; with Keaton’s character Marsha Kane seemingly relishing in the chance to unleash vengeance on the three brothers attacking her home – never killing her attackers outright, instead injuring them like some kind of sadistic psychopath. The lines between attacker and victim becoming more and more blurred as the film goes on.

Speaking of genres, The Last House was originally called Cry for the Bad Man, which may be a very odd title for a horror thriller but when you consider that writer/director Samuel Farmer treats this film almost like an old-school Western it makes sense. Keaton’s Marsha is the stranger, the lone gunmen, defending the homestead in a town where everyone capitulates to the sleazy land developer, even the authorities – with the film even playing out at times very much like a Mexican standoff, though I’ve never seen a Western as dark as this.

Interestingly, for a film that features genre icon Camille Keaton, Farmer actually spends more time with the invading brothers, exploring the dynamic between them and the trios own internal power struggle. Humanising the brothers so much so that it’s almost as if he’s positioning Keaton’s character as the villain of the piece… Which actually turns out to be the case. Marsha takes her vengeance so far that you can’t help but feel sorry (or…cry for the bad men) whom she kills without mercy. Which ultimately turns the entire film on its head in spectacular fashion!

The Last House is released on DVD on April 5th, courtesy of Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment.

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