It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday
…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror
– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.
And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes & DVDs comes…
An Italian gorefest about a young couple being held captive by a sadistic backwoods family. A woman escapes a group of bullies seeking to rape her and takes refuge with a seemingly kind couple who have a dark secret hidden in their quiet, secluded house.
“There are some lines that must never be crossed… beyond them all is The Last House in the Woods”
The Last House in the Woods (2006) features some pretty decent gore, and there are several scenes of horror and suspense. The problem, it seems to me, is with the script. The story is basically ridiculous. And most of the characters are pretty unsympathetic. Even the two most sympathetic characters behave questionably from time to time.
The movie is Italian, and I have a great love of Italian cinema – Italian horror in particular. But I found this one, right off the top, to be irritating me with bad dubbing . So, I actually switched to Italian with subtitles (which I probably should have been on to begin with, but the DVD defaulted to English). That helped a bit, but I still found myself scratching my head at times, wondering what the characters were thinking.
I won’t try to itemize all of the WTF moments in this movie, but one thing that seems to get mentioned by other reviewers is this: there is a gang of asshole rapists in this movie. They menace the two main characters in a random attack at the side of the highway. Later in the movie, the three rapists return to the area and – for reasons that I can’t understand – they decide to look for trouble in the woods. They stumble onto the house or horrors in which our two main characters are being tortured and terrorized.
The movie seems to recast them as “heroes” at this point. The rapists decide to attack the other bad guys and rescue the very girl they had been attempting rape a few hours ago. I honestly wasn’t sure who I was rooting for. As luck would have it (SPOILER ALERT), pretty much everyone dies so either way it all works out.
So what’s the verdict?
The Last House in the Woods (2006) is Trash. Some may be sufficiently entertained by the gore gags and scenes of horror to call it a mild Terror. I must have felt that way myself 15 years ago when I first watched this thing. I kept it in my collection, after all. But looking at it again now, it just makes me want to watch the better movies that probably inspired it. For example, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). A messed up family living in the woods, using unfortunate travellers as a source of food? There’s even a creepy dinner table scene, and a deformed looking guy wielding a chainsaw, so you do the math.
Of course, so many films have ripped off – I mean, been influenced by – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre over the years that it’s almost pointless to mention it, but…
The gang of rapists could be a nod to Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left (1972) – as the title (The Last House in the Woods) seems to imply. But their role in this movie is so head scratchingly strange that I’m not sure.
There’s also a tumour-popping moment that conjures up memories of Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive AKA Braindead – which I consider to be a masterpiece.
I would watch any of these three films – as well as many, many classic Italian horror films – over The Last House in the Woods again. It’s not a complete waste of an evening, but I think twice in a lifetime is enough for me.
The Last House in the Woods (2006) by #GabrieleAlbanesi
An Italian gorefest about a young couple being held captive by a sadistic backwoods family.
— Angus Kohm (@AngusKohm) December 15, 2021