The Last House on the Left (1972)★★★☆☆


This movie is hard to watch. Not in the normal, almost tongue-in-cheek way I usually say it. There’s nothing wrong with this movie, but the things it depicts…well, there’s a lot wrong there. There’s no need for fancy special effects here, and while there’s not a whole lot of gore, there are several graphic, disturbing scenes.

For a directorial debut, this was quite a statement. If Wes Craven was here for anything, it was to scare as many people as possible.

The peppy, circus-like music in the background at times makes you feel like the movie is laughing at you for watching it. Like the joke’s on you, the audience, for being entertained by what’s happening. I just realized that the “music by” credit is David Hess – Krug, leader of the pack. Somehow that’s fitting and yet even more horrifying.

Make no mistake, this movie is terrifying.There’s nothing supernatural here. This is the absolute worst of what could happen when you talk to strangers. And, perhaps, the absolute worst of what could happen when you are one of those strangers. Whether or not this is actually based on a true story, there’s nothing here that couldn’t happen.

The pacing is a bit strange and at times disorienting. Alternating between scenes of the girls’ torture and scenes of the increasingly worried parents builds tension at the beginning, and when those two stories meet things start to get even scarier, but it’s a slow build to there.

I probably wouldn’t recommend this as someone’s first Wes Craven movie, but if you’re into being scared in that really disturbing way, this probably won’t let you down.