Original: The Last House on the Left (1972)
Director: Dennis Iliadis
Stars: Tony Goldwyn, Monica Potter, Garret Dillahunt, Aaron Paul, Sara Paxton, Riki Lindhome, Spencer Treat Clark, Martha MacIsaac
Highly regarded for its political undertones and, for its time, shocking violence, Wes Craven's 1972 feature film debut, The Last House on the Left has certainly earned its place within the canon of genre film classics. But give it a fresh look today and you'll realize something: It's not that all that great. Sure, its nastiest moments are still sufficiently visceral, but it's also poorly paced and features two of the worst comic relief characters imaginable, a couple of dim-witted cops who derail the movie every time they're on screen.
Following the blueprint he set three years earlier, when he hired French director Alexandre Aja to remake The Hills Have Eyes (more on that later), Craven looked outside of the U.S. when it came to redo Last House. In Greece, he came across Dennis Iliadis, whose edgy, fearless 2004 debut Hardcore (about two female prostitutes who fall in love and start killing people) impressed him enough to give Iliadis the keys to his House, so to speak.
In Iliadis' film, gone are those moronic police officers, and, frankly, all sense of humor whatsoever. The Last House on the Left 2009 is an intensely dark revenge picture, no questions asked, one that doesn't shy away from what Craven's original so controversial (i.e., graphic depictions of rape and murder) and benefits greatly from its cast of talented character actors (including Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, in a wonderfully despicable role).