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Last House on the Left 

Keep telling yourself, “It’s Only Another Useless Remake ... It’s Only Another Useless Remake.” Given the wobbly acting, meat-cleaver editing and a soundtrack with more mood swings than your psycho ex-girlfriend, Wes Craven’s cult 1972 cheapie Last House on the Left might have been interesting with a big-budget makeover. But ... no, not really. An a la mode torture-porn treatment and sharp (albeit filmed economically in South Africa) production values little enhance 2009’s Craven-produced revisit to the splatterfest about teen girls abducted and abused by an escaped convict and his killer gang/extended family. Thinking they’ve disposed of the bodies, the assailants seek shelter at the title summer house, which, fatally for them, turns out to be the residence of one victim’s parents (Cleveland actress Monica Potter plays the murdering mom). The original had some ambiguity (or was it just blurry cinematography?) about the awful revenge; this one’s just a vigilante death-fest, with sink-disposal unit and microwave-oven-icide prompting the only moral question: Why are we watching this? Between them all, best version is still Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring. H 1/2

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