Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Rino Diana, Geremia Longobardo, Daniela Virgilio, Daniele Grassetti, Santa De Santis
Directed by Gabriele Albanesi
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Ah, the glory days of the classic Italian giallo film. How I’ve missed you. In a time when not even Dario Argento is putting out Argento-esque films, the European slasher fans out there don’t have very much of a selection when it comes to getting their hands on a flick that’s worth getting excited about. Then along comes director Gabriele Albanesi’s terror fest The Last House in the Woods. Finally there’s something to talk about!
Aurora (Virgilio) and Rino (Grassetti) are two young lovers who are going through a bit of a rough spot relationship-wise. He’s madly in love with her, but she feels as if he’d make a much better friend than he would a lifetime companion. After the duo go for a ride to talk things through, they end up being attacked by a group of young thugs. As a result Rino’s beaten and Aurora is nearly raped, but luckily for them a husband and wife drive up in their car and come to the rescue. The two do-gooders then take our shaken couple to their home so that they can mend their wounds and calm their nerves. Truth be told? Rape and a beating seem like a light slap on the wrist in comparison to what this mysterious brood have in mind for our protagonists.
The Last House in the Woods looks, sounds, and feels as if it were made in the heyday of imported slashers from the late Seventies and early Eighties. It’s fast paced and absolutely brutal in its unpredictability and intensity. With this feature film debut, director Gabriele Albanesi has left himself a much needed swollen and bleeding mark on the genre. In fact, the only real trouble with this flick is that at times it feels like too much of an homage. As good as it is, we’ve already seen this type of material done to death. Thankfully Albanesi’s manages to keep things fresh-as-can-be via some truly deft direction.
The DVD itself rises just past the above average mark but not because of it being stacked with special features. It’s not. All we really have here is a forty-minute making-of, a commentary, and a trailer, but the inclusion of one of Albanesi’s short films, “L’Armadio”, puts this one just over the top and further sweetens this package. You should definitely check it out when you get your hands on this disc. Good stuff!
The Last House in the Woods rises to the occasion by offering fans an at times nail-biting experience, and the best part is that you have two ways to watch it — either English dubbed for some really old-fashioned cheese value or in its purest form, Italian with subbys. Given the subject matter and fandom it plays fine both ways. Albanesi is a director with visione grande. Here’s to the other dark places he will surely be taking us in the future.
4 out of 5
3 out 5
Discuss The Last House in the Woods in the Dread Central forums!