Born out of the anti-Vietnam protests and inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Virgin Spring’, Wes Craven’s 1972 horror was an anti-establishment shocker that became infamous for its scenes of rape and violence.
’s remake retains its ferocious power and provocative themes, and thanks to a focused script that unfolds in real time, it ratchets up the suspense and sucks us into a remorseless cycle of violence and revenge.
Innocent teenager Mari Collingwood (
) and her wayward friend Paige (Martha Maclsaac) are abducted and brutalised by escaped psychopath Krug (Garrett Dillahunt), his aptly named girlfriend Sadie, his brother Francis and his wimpy son Justin. The captured girls are less helpless here, but these stomach-knotting early scenes are made worse by a nagging feeling that if they had only cooperated, or taken their chances, things might not have spiralled out of control. Then, in an irony inherited from ‘The Virgin Spring’, the killers seek refuge in Mari’s parents’ idyllic lakeside summer home, where John Collingwood (
) and his wife Emma (
) – alerted by tell-tale clues to their guests’ true identities – use cunning, makeshift weapons and improvised booby traps to exact their cruel revenge.
Craven’s sub-$100,000 exploitation movie fused the sleazy intensity of the grindhouse with the piercing intelligence of an art film. Iliadis’s sensibility is more commercial, but he introduces a telling undercurrent of class hatred and never loses sight of how Mari’s parents are ultimately reduced to the same level of primal, animalistic violence as that of psychotic Krug and his cronies.