Last House on the Left (1972, 2009)

For a film that created so much controversy at the time of its release, the original Last House on the Left had a wild and corny soundtrack. A happy traveling song fit for Benny Hill (with kazoo, no less!) precedes the violent murders of two young girls who lack escape skills. By now Wes Craven and company must realize that the film would be a million times better with no soundtrack at all. And it’s not only the music that is a problem. There are a couple of moronic local cops who waste time and comically fail to hitch a ride with a stereotypical southern black woman driving a truck load of chickens. All of this equates to around 20 irrelevant minutes.

Better to get to the heart of the story. A ragtag, ruthless group of criminals (plus the leaders’ son who, in the original, dreams of being a frog) murder two girls and then coincidentally that same night wind up at the home of one of the girl’s parents.

While the film received much criticism for its realistic depiction of rape and murder, the most interesting aspect of Last House is the change in the parents of the victim. Early in both films, we see a lighthearted, gentle couple. When they realize the people who tormented their daughter are in their home, they turn as sadistic as the villians.

The remake actually does a better job working into that transformation, and the parents’ blistering savage revenge has several moments that deserve literal applause (squeeze a nose that merely an hour ago you stitched up? hell yea!). At the same time, however, the remake goes soft by allowing two characters who perished in the first film to survive. [rating: 1972 – $6, 2009 – $8] –Kenyon

The Crazies (2010)

After an infected corpse just happens to parachute into a marsh and small town’s water source, the U.S military seizes the population of Ogden, Iowa. Unfortunately for them, the quarantine system fails and everything goes straight to hell.

Impossible timing in the Crazies is a rule. For example, the deputy shoots through a second story window to stop an “infected” from killing his friend without a second more to loose. There is a little melodrama, and a little is too much for this remake of the 1973 film from George Romero. This version should have spent more time on the aspects of the virus itself and less on whether or not the lead female is pregnant. So therefore i cannot comprehend why this got so many positive reviews. On the bright side, the Crazies is convincingly gruesome, like when the hero gets a knife through his hand and while still stuck in hand puts it into an infected’s neck. You know it! [rating:$6]