Wes Craven's debut, The Last House of the Left follows a pair of carefree teenagers (Sandra Cassel's Mari and Lucy Grantham's Phyllis) as their plans for a fun night out are thwarted after they're captured by four sadistic killers (David Hess' Krug, Fred Lincoln's Weasel, Jeramie Rain's Sadie, and Marc Sheffler's Junior). On their way out of town, however, the quartet coincidentally wind up staying in a house belonging to Mari's parents (Richard Towers' John and Cynthia Carr's Estelle) - which effectively paves the way for a revenge-filled third act. Filmmaker Craven has infused The Last House on the Left with a pervasively amateurish vibe that extends to virtually every aspect of the proceedings, with the atrocious score, heavy handed screenplay, and almost uniformly unimpressive performances ranking high on the movie's long list of deficiencies. The exceedingly low-rent production values subsequently ensure that the more overtly horrific elements within Craven's script often fall completely flat, while the inclusion of several altogether needless instances of comedic relief (ie two bumbling cops played by Marshall Anker and Martin Kove) prove effective at compounding the movie's hopelessly incompetent atmosphere. Craven's far-from-subtle modus operandi permeates virtually every aspect of the proceedings, with John and Estelle's transformation from wholesome, Leave it to Beaver-esque parents to calculating, blood-thirsty animals undoubtedly the most eye-rolling example of this. There's ultimately little doubt that The Last House on the Left's status as a horror classic is nothing short of baffling, and it's a marvel that Craven was able to parlay the movie into a bona fide film career (it's just that bad).


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