The Last House on the Left is yet another remake of a classic horror flick, this one produced (and therefore sanctioned) by the original's creator, the Professor of Horror himself, Wes Craven. It was directed by Dennis Iliadis, making his American feature debut, from a script by Adam Alleca (first produced feature script) and Carl Ellsworth (Craven's Red Eye and Disturbia as well as a couple of okay Xena episodes.) This one, like the original, is about a family seeking revenge on the people who raped and beat their daughter.
Before I start, I should say that The Last House on the Left is not my favourite Craven flick. To be honest, it's been so long since I saw it that I don't remember much other than that it was very intense and shocking.
The biggest problem with remakes, in my opinion, is that the people who write the scripts now aren't the people who wrote the scripts then. Sometimes, the people writing the scripts now (like Adam Alleca) weren't even born when the original came out. We as a world are not in the same frame of mind we were 37 years ago when Last House first hit the screens. As such, these new scripts keep missing the mark in little, and in not so little, ways. I know of no one who says that the remake of anything is better than the original. I've not heard anyone tout the newest Friday the 13th as the mostest awesomest Jason flick evar!1! Remakes are, by their very nature, inferiour products because its a world created by one person filtered through someone else's perspective and personal memories. It's like the game Telephone and how the first person says "Butterflies are pretty" and by the time it gets to the last person the message has transformed into "Butt-licker fancy trees." The newest Last House is no different.
On the technical side, everything was good. The cinematography was too slick and processed, and they focused so much on Francis's broken nose that I thought Lucio Fulci (whose ocular obsession was legendary) had possessed the creative team. The score was good in and of itself, but it missed a few marks, or perhaps the movie missed them, so that was kind of distracting.
I saw nothing wrong with the performances. I thought everyone in the film did a magnificent job.
While it was brutal in certain respects, as it should be given its pedigree, it felt really reserved in others. Pretty frustrating, actually. And the finale felt like something out of the sequel to a slasher flick.
Overall: I wouldn't recommend it. Go watch the original instead, if you have to, or just watch something original.