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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 10.13.08] movie review horror

Year: 2008
DVD Release date: October 14, 2008
Director: Gabriele Albanesi
Writers: Gabriele Albanesi
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Amazon: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 7 out of 10

If I were a little more scholarly I could probably pinpoint the exact moment when the Italian Giallo movement turned away from its arthouse leanings and became a trashy, exploitive genre. Of course, you could pretty much clock the evolution of any genre that has become popular in Italy and wind up with the same results as the country has a long history of milking every good thing that comes along and capitalizing on the draw of sex and violence until the box office revenue streams run dry. It happened with Spaghetti Westerns, the post-Conan barbarian craze, the zombie genre etc. etc. etc.. I'm pretty sure a combination of Lucio Fulci and the advent of cheap digital photography equipment had something to do with the phenomenon in every case, but I'll leave my speculations out of it. Suffice it to say, The Last House in the Woods is exactly the throwback to this sleazy end of 80s Italian horror that its title suggests; and I loved every blood splattered minute of it.

In all honestly, out of all the films in the Ghost House Collection, I was looking forward to watching this one the least. The trailer was just 2 minutes of a girl running through the woods being chased by what seemed to be a guy holding a camcorder. It looked really cheap and boring. As it turns out though, The Last House in the Woods is actually a tense and unpredictable gore-fest that nails the look, sounds, and tone, of some of my favorite 80s Euro films. Seriously, Gabriele Albanesi captures a retro vibe in every respect. From the synthy Twin Peaks-esque score, to the hand held style, crazy zooms, and gore FX, everything feels like its been ripped from the 80s or early 90s. In fact, if it weren't for the modern clothes and cars, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were actually watching a relic from that time.

Aurora is a fickle girl. She likes her boyfriend Rino but can't help but feel that there's something more out there for her. Rino, on the other hand, wants Aurora back and takes her on a drive so they can talk about it. While parked on the side of the road, they're attacked by three hoped up douche bags out for a night of sex and partying. Rino is beat up but Aurora is spared a worse fate when a stranger stops and scares her attackers away. Beside herself, Aurora agrees to go back to her savior's house to get cleaned up. But is there more to these nice people than meets the eye?

On the surface, The Last House in the Woods might seem to owe more to 42nd street shockers like its namesake, The Last House on the Left, or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, than it does to the twisted serial killer mysteries of Dario Argento but, if you look beyond the family of weirdo cannibals and gratuitous chainsaw mayhem, you'll see that the film is full of some distinctly Italian Hallmarks. For one thing, Albanesi understands the kid creepy factor and this film's got to win points for having the creepiest kid I've seen yet on screen in years! The DVD comes equipped with a couple of interesting features including a commentary and a behind the scenes look, but probably the coolest edition is the inclusion of an early short called L'Armadio which also features a creepy ass kid.

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Cyberhal (14 years ago) Reply

nice review, and I agree, a very creepy kid. I think one thing that sets it aside is the twists and turns. It's also pretty f'd up.


agentorange (14 years ago) Reply

Totally! Like I said, it's unpredictable which makes it pretty tense. When you watch it, it feels like it could go anywhere.


Jessie (13 years ago) Reply

The movie is one of the worst horror films i have ever watched. It is very gruesome, but its as if it was home-made. Very dark setting so you can not see much detail. My advice? Dont waste your money, it's a pointless, stupid movie. This Italian director has NOT brought back Italian horror, total epic failure.

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