This is a remake of the Wes Craven's low budget 1972 cult favorite of the same name. I saw the original, and despite its low budget values, replete with grainy film images and bad acting, it was one of the most horrifying and brutal films that I had ever seen. Of course, the reality is that the crimes that were perpetrated in that film were just that, and, consequently, it remains one of the most frightening and shocking films to date. It was truly chilling. When I saw that there had been a remake, I would curious to see how it would compare. I would have to say that in the shock and awe department, the original still holds sway. Still, the remake is an excellent film and, though brutal, somehow less frightening.
The storyline is every parent's worse nightmare. A teenager, Mari Collingwood, goes with her parents to their rural country house. She takes the family car to meet a friend in town. Unbeknownst to them, an escaped killer named Krug is on the loose with his rescuers. Mari and her friend hook up with a creepy but cute guy with whom they end up smoking weed with in his motel room. Then his father, his crazy girl-friend, and his uncle show up, and all hell breaks loose. They are none other than the escaped killer and his rescuers. Clearly, they are not going to let these two girls walk away. What happens next will chill the viewer.
This gritty and raw film has excellent production values, good cinematography, and the cast is a definite an improvement over that in the original. The controversial rape scene is brutal but probably mirrors the reality of such a crime, and the reality of it ain't pretty. Garret Dillahunt is definitely a standout as the ruthless escaped killer. Likewise Tony Goldwyn, Monica Potter, and Sarah Paxton are also excellent as the beleaguered Collingwood family. Overall, it is a remake that stands up well to the original, as well as on its own merits. Although the film is very similar to the original, there are some differences, though in the long run, these differences do not really make or break this film of a family fighting to survive under circumstances most of us would prefer not to think about. Word to the wise: this film is definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart.