APRIL 21, 2008
Last week I knocked on Lake Dead for being a derivative movie that offered nothing new to the genre. Well I could say the same thing for Last House In The Woods (aka Il Bosco Fuori), which is essentially Last House On The Left meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. But unlike Dead, it has that certain je ne sais quoi that made it worth my while. Also, I really wish it was a French movie (it actually FEELS French, at least in the first half), instead of an Italian one, so that my clichéd use of French would be even more fitting. C’est la vie.
One of those certain “something”s was a first for me. In all the years I have been watching horror movies, I have never come as close to gagging as I did at the sight of a particular makeup effect near the end of the film. I’m the most desensitized sod in the world when it comes to gore and the like, but I legit had to take a few deep breaths and stop eating my Healthy Choice meat loaf dinner for a minute or two. I won’t spoil it, but it involves a giant tumor-ish growth on one of the bad guy’s necks, and the good guy’s mouth. Watch at your own risks!
The score by Filippo Barbieri and Federico Bruno is also fantastic. I actually sat and listened to the end credits so I could enjoy the theme until the very end. I say listened because the credits were in Italian and thus I couldn’t read them. There is one exception, however – the opening credits are all “unanacional” and “rigatoni” or whatever, but when it comes to the effects, it’s in plain English: “Visual Effects and Digital Grading by (Tony Luigi whatever.)”. Do the Italians not have a word for “Grading”?
Another thing about the music that tickled me was the sad music that plays when a certain character dies. Ordinarily, this is fine – but the guy is a goddamn thief and rapist! Early on, three guys are driving around, getting stoned and looking to get laid. They come across our heroine and her boyfriend, and do what any stoned Italian punks in a horror movie would do – beat the guy unconscious and rape the girl. And this is where the Last House comparison comes in, though it’s a bit reversed – the three end up coming to her rescue. You see, the real villains are a family of backwoods rejects, led by a guy who looks eerily like Feast producer Mike Leahy. And this was where the Leatherface comparisons came in. In fact, the film worked better when our antagonists are just two parents and their creepy cannibal son. But then two typical movie redneck mutant guys are introduced, and the movie loses some steam. In the end, everyone is soaked in blood and dismembered (though not necessarily dead), so it’s all good.
The direction/cinematography leaves a bit to be desired, however. For whatever reason, Gabriele Albanesi (director) and Giovanni Cavallini (cinematographer) opt to use constant zooms – fast or slow, in or out, doesn’t matter. It looks like High Tension: The Soap Opera. Sometimes it works well, particularly to invoke that sort of 1970’s feel, but other times it’s just annoying. Everything in moderation!
(Except the gore.)
I watched this on a screener; it’s been playing festivals around the world (including the US) since 2006. Not sure if/when it is ever coming out here, but if it comes to your area, I’d check it out. It doesn’t really break new ground on the survival genre, but, like Doomsday, it’s a “greatest hits” done right, and would probably be a blast with a “Grindhouse” style crowd.
What say you?