Total Film - 12/01/2008 3 stars out of 5 -- "Cruel and unflinching....It remains raw and unsettling."
Wes Craven's nightmarish odyssey of revenge helped to usher in a new era of graphic horror filmmaking in the early 1970s. Inspired by Ingmar Bergman's THE VIRGIN SPRING (1960), THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is a parent's worst nightmare come to terrifying life. Beautiful 17-year-olds Mari (Sandra Cassel) and Phyllis (Lucy Grantham) head into the city for a rock concert, but once there, they're kidnapped by three repulsive, sadistic escaped convicts led by Krug Stillo (a menacing David Hess). After the gang drives the girls into the woods, where they rape and murder them, the disheveled crew ends up at the home of none other than Mari's parents, John (Gaylord St. James) and Estelle (Cynthia Carr). When John discovers who has unknowingly walked into his home, he exacts a revenge that makes the convicts' actions seem tame by comparison.
Working on a shoestring budget and coaxing naturalistic performances out of his actors (with the exception of two bumbling law enforcement officers), Craven displays the talent that he would later develop on a grand scale with A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and SCREAM. Certainly not for the fainthearted, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT remains one of the most visceral horror films ever made.