The Last House on the Left (1972)

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Movie Info

Based on Bergman's The Virgin Spring, Wes Craven's cult classic is an account of a group of sadistic killers who meet their match when they break into the home of their latest victim.

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Cast

Lucy Grantham
as Phyllis Stone
Sandra Peabody
as Mari Collingwood
Gaylord St. James
as Dr. Collingwood
Cynthia Carr
as Mrs. Collingwood
Ada Washington
as Truck Driver
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News & Interviews for The Last House on the Left

Critic Reviews for The Last House on the Left

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (4)

It isn't artistically adroit, but if success in this genre is counted by squirms, it's a success.

Sep 26, 2007 | Full Review…

Craven's cold, flat style of filming emphasises the fact that the violence dehumanises not only the victims but the aggressors.

Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

The party who wrote this sickening tripe and also directed the inept actors is Wes Craven.

May 9, 2005 | Full Review…

A tough, bitter little sleeper of a movie that's about four times as good as you'd expect.

Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

If you enjoy watching women being raped and tortured to the most inappropriate music imaginable, this is for you.

Oct 31, 2018 | Full Review…

The film is violent and seedy, an atmosphere made more effective by the use of unknown actors and a semi-documentary style... But Craven also introduces the kind of grace notes that he would use throughout his career.

Aug 28, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Last House on the Left

Exploitation is supposed to be fun, but there is no fun here unless you get off on seeing vile scenes of rape and brutality, and the movie is so trashy and tonally awful that it becomes bizarre the way it combines all that ugly violence with a ridiculous, childish sense of humor.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

This is the infamous movie that spawned one of the best taglines of all-time (the trailer warns the viewers to reiterate "it's only a movie"). While it isn't as crushingly scarifying as the promotion might indicate, 'The Last House on the Left' is unflinchingly brutal. The cinema-verite method really enhances the amateurish production value and the performers seem remarkably unrehearsed. "The Road Leads to Nowhere" is the perfect anthem for the film's prescient opening over salacious shots of Mary in the shower. Any other misogynistic exploitation film would linger on the nudity and infer that Mary's promiscuous outfit was the catalyst for her rape and demise. Instead Wes Craven counterbalances the female credulity with an incisive social commentary on the backfiring of the Flower-Power Era. Lest anyone suspect that the movie is without shortcomings, the cutaways to a buffoonish sheriff and deputy are tonally excruciating slapstick. The revenge elements in the last act are not handled with a pandering, crowd-pleasing sensationalism. When the parents finally retaliate against the attackers, it is a pyrrhic victory since their proactive stance of eye-for-eye cannot resurrect the two girls who were slain. While the film is certainly lopsided due to the Keystone-Kops antics, 'The Last House on the Left' is an underrated entry in the lost-innocence subgenre.

Cory Taylor
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer

½

I know I saw them backwards, but I must compare this to the remake. It's like a cartoon compared to that film. The tone is all over the place, going from comedy to thriller in an instant (not successfully I might add), the acting is pretty awful, the story is not as compelling (they changed things in the remake and it was definitely better), and the overall feel of this movie is just so cheesy sometimes. The soundtrack is out of place with what the film is depicting and is just laughable. This is a 70's low budget B movie in vein of Romero, but it's not good. It's fairly entertaining, but for all the wrong reasons. Everything that was good about the remake (well shot, edited, and acted) is exactly what is wrong with this one. I will give it points for pushing the envelope of the film industry though. Wes Craven has done much better films than this one.

Josh Lewis
Josh Lewis

Super Reviewer

A horror film in the true sense of the word. This is one of the finest low budget grindhouse/exploitation films ever made. It's not all that dissimilar from many of those films, a great deal of which are far inferior, but what sets this films apart is that it makes an effort at having artistry, albeit slightly. This is an all together gruesome affair, but the film hits the audience with more than just a visceral punch to the gut. It hits hard emotionally and mentally as well. You could write an academic essay arguing how morality plays into the film, and could easily provide an argument defending what Mari's parents do as justifiable, even though what they do is almost as bad as what Krug and Co. do. The fact that the audience can identify with the girls and feel sorry for them is what makes this an unforgettable and terrifying film. It's low budget and the time period that it was made are easily seen, but those are forgiveable if everything else works, but also can help a film at times, giving it a more raw and messy feel that only adds to the atmosphere. As horrifying as the film can be, something does stick out.The music is rather contrasting, leading to a very mixed film tonally. Use of contrasting music doesn't always pan out successfully, and I wonder why the film couldn't just pick a tone and stick with it. That's pretty much my only real issue though. If you can find this one, give it a shot. It's by no means perfect, but is certainly a great work nonetheless.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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