This weekend I ran a new installment of my ‘Movies That Never Were’ series (click here to read about King Kong vs. Frankenstein!), and usually you have to wait a couple of years to get a good look at what a movie might have been like with a different script or director. But thanks to the internet that process has sped up, and now you can see another pitch for the remake of The Last House on the Left, which just opened this weekend.
Joe Lynch, a friend and a truly talented filmmaker, pitched his take on the movie in 2006. I’m biased – I really like Joe and was wildly underwhelmed by the remake – but his pitch, which he’s shared at his website, seems to me to be the movie this needed to be. The main difference between Joe’s vision and what Dennis Iliadis brought us is summed up in this line from his pitch: This movie needs to be “dangerous”.
Joe’s take probably would have been closer to what I wanted to see, as the movies he namedrops feel totally right: his stylistic touchstones are described as ‘Funny Games meets Hard Candy with a dash of Oldboy & Panic Room,’ saying that the film needs to be artfully stylized while containing real, brutal violence akin to that seen in ‘Schindler’s List, Munich, Man Bites Dog.’
The biggest change Joe would have made would have been to transplant the action from yet another backwoods locale to a suburban cul de sac. This, to me, is the most intriguing part. Violence isn’t found away from home but, in the case of his presentation, literally in our own back yards. It’s what Rob Zombie absolutely missed in Halloween. Spooky places are not good locations for scary events – familiar places are. You leave the theater and drive home to the exact same neighborhood from the movie, a neighborhood where you felt safe just two hours before. But not anymore.
Click here to read and see the whole thing, complete with video and storyboards. I hope more filmmakers do this in the future – I’m really intrigued by the alternate realities out there, which is why I started doing ‘Movies That Never Were.’
And fret not – while Joe has been laying low since his magnificent debut with Wrong Turn 2 (and I know that sounds like a joke, but I swear it’s a great, old fashioned splatter movie), he has a project lined up that sounds weird and impressive and daunting and funny. I can’t wait for more from him.
Thanks to IconsOfFright for bringing this to my attention. Guess I should check Joe’s blog more often, huh?
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey