Elitist intellectuals whine that modern horror is little more than torture porn playing on society's bloodlust, sickening trash that you should be embarrassed for paying to watch. Ayo! Scott thinks those puckered assholes should be bent over a bed of nails and sodomized with a hand mixer while they're forced to watch Wes Craven's disturbing 1972 debut, The Last House on the Left, and Dennis Iliadis's shiny new remake. It's not that the snobbish prudes deserve to be punished because they're wrong, mind you (most horror films nowadays are torture porn), it's that mindless savagery is entertaining and Ayo! would like to see them writhe in agony...
Over the years, Craven classics like Last House and The Hills Have Eyes, which was polished up in Alexandre Aja's 2006 remake, have gotten a pass from highbrow haters because they seemed to satirize their troubled times (see: the Vietnam War, Nixon, the Manson Family murders, nuclear proliferation). The world is just as twisted and fucked up today, so one could draw parallels if they wanted to, but horror filmmakers have dropped the pretense and embraced the base human desire to watch other people suffer voyeuristically.
When Iliadis tells the story of a couple (Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter) who avenge the brutal rape and attempted murder of their daughter (Sara Paxton) by furiously retaliating against the sadistic sociopaths who attacked her, he isn't making a statement about unending war in the Middle East or the feelings of impotence caused by the recession. He's simply quenching a new generation's thirst with stylish splatter and a quality of craftsmanship not found take in the low budget original. Craven shocked audiences with the depths of his characters' depravity (Ayo! is still trying to get the fatal fellatio scene out of his head'and his ladies') but Iliadis substitutes that for a more palpable tension and clever, gory violence.
The film's torturous finale, while completely illogical in the context of the story, is the director's awesome acknowledgement that horror audiences pay good money to see the gruesome spectacle of a man's head exploding in a microwave. And if you've got a problem with directors delivering for fans, well, Ayo! has a hand mixer on which you can sit and spin. Check out the trailer to help determine if The Last House on the Left is a place you'd like to visit.
And while you're at it, check out the 1972 trailer, just 'cause it's hilarious.