Sean Cunningham

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The Last House on the Left (2009) Review


Weak
Nearly 40 years ago, quasi-hippy filmmakers Wes Craven and Sean S. Cunningham were looking to make a name for themselves (and a little cash, if possible) in the thriving New York exploitation scene. Working with some intent distributors, they adapted Igmar Bergman's Virgin Spring for the drive-in, and a grindhouse classic -- Last House on the Left -- was born. With its memorable marketing campaign ("repeat to yourself... it's only a movie... it's only a movie) and direct, documentary style, it had impact and import during a crucial time in post-modern American cinema. As with several of Craven's past projects, Last House has now been remade for the post-millennial crowd, and that's too bad. This tedious, tepid update offers none of the original's brutality or energy.

It's time for summer vacation and the Collingwood family -- doctor dad (Tony Goldwyn), teacher mom (Monica Potter), and daughter Mari (Sara Paxton) -- are heading to their isolated lake house for a little R&R. Sadly, the teenage girl will soon run into escaped killer Krug (Garrett Dillahunt), his son Justin (Spencer Treat Clark), the equally unhinged Francis (Aaron Paul), and gonzo gal pal Sadie (Riki Lindhome). Along with her buddy Paige (Martha MacIsaac), Mari will be tortured, abused, and left for dead. When the criminals show up at the Collingwood home looking for lodging, it's not long before the parents find out what happened... and when they do, the tables are turned and no one is safe.

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Jason X Review


Unbearable
What would happen if you applied the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" to something that actually was broke. Would it miraculously fix itself? Apparently not, as Jason X - the latest installment in the long-running Friday the 13th series - hauls out once again all of the ridiculous elements that once decimated the franchise's credibility, only to produce an equally horrible sequel.

For starters, the film drops its descriptive Friday the 13th moniker, and in the process, forgets its roots. Ignoring the fact that hockey mask-sporting Jason Voorhees had his Final Chapter in 1984 or was banished to hell in 1993's The Final Friday, the new Jason X opens with the ruthless fiend (Kane Hodder) awaiting cryogenic treatment at the Crystal Lake Research Facility. Scientists interested in exploring Jason's ability to rapidly regenerate cell tissue delay the deep freeze just long enough for Voorhees to pull a Harry Houdini, though, and Jason promptly slaughters the entire egg-headed bunch. Take that, science! Only gorgeous Dr. Rowan (Lexa Doig) is spared, and while she's able to trap Jason in a cryogenic chamber, a leak in the equipment freezes her in the process. Ah, cryogenics - just another link in the long chain of similarities between Jason and entertainment czar Walt Disney. But I digress.

Continue reading: Jason X Review

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